According to recent surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were about 3 million less smokers in 2011 than in 2009.
It appeared that tobacco companies were beginning to increase advertising to win back customers. Tobacco advertising in magazines had been down in recent years, but increased 11% to 160 pages in Q1 2012 led by large campaigns from Newport and Natural American Spirit.
Tobacco advertising has been down since. Measured among 195 MPA consumer magazines, Q2-Q3 (April-September) ad pages were down 15% to 311 total pages. Tobacco ad pages are down 22% to 131 pages in weekly and bi-weekly magazines – the magazines that typically run the most tobacco ads.
Newport and Natural American Spirit remained the largest advertisers but placed fewer pages than in Q2-Q3 2011. Newport decreased by 59 pages (-38%) to 97 pages and Natural American Spirit decreased by 16 pages (-18%) to 74 pages.
Playboy ran the most tobacco ad pages, with 12 of its 21 pages coming from Newport and Natural American Spirit.
Tobacco brands are not simply moving their advertising online. Only a handful of tobacco brands ran large online campaigns on magazine Web sites – notably White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes, Macanudo Cigars, and Altria Group, which ran a large campaign on theatlantic.com advertising its underage smoking prevention initiative.