use, the IOM report recommended that all visual advertisements for tobacco products be limited to black-and-white, text-only formats. It also recommended prohibiting all advertising by tobacco companies to minors, regardless of purpose, inasmuch as even ostensibly discouraging advertisements and information-gathering campaigns, such as surveys, may encourage tobacco use.
A recent study by Slater et al. (2007) found that advertising and price promotion contribute to the initiation of smoking (moving from one-time experimenters, or “puffers,” to other, more established categories of smokers). The tobacco industry has also strategically targeted such populations as young men and women and racial and ethnic groups. It uses sophisticated advertising to appeal to the demographic and lifestyle characteristics of targeted audiences, such as social acceptance, athleticism, rewarded risk-taking, and masculinity or femininity (NCI, 2008). The committee notes that all of those characteristics are likely to appeal to a military audience that consists of young men and women being asked to undertake arduous duties and possibly risk their lives. Such conclusions have led the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to call on nations to “undertake a comprehensive ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship … in accordance with its constitution or constitutional principles,” but the United States has yet to ratify the FCTC.2 Studies of comprehensive tobacco-advertising bans in several countries indicate that they have reduced consumption (Saffer and Chaloupka, 2000).
The tobacco industry has changed its approach to tobacco promotion in response to changing regulatory environments. After implementation of the ban on television advertising, the tobacco industry used outdoor advertising, magazines, point-of-sale advertising, and direct mail to appeal to consumers (IOM, 2007). Point-of-sale advertising is associated with encouraging youth to try smoking (CDC, 2007a). With prices increasing as a result of higher state and federal taxes, the tobacco industry now spends $10 billion a year to provide price-discount promotions to merchants (Pierce, 2007). Price promotions play an important role in tobacco consumption because they counteract the effect of increased cigarette prices.
The military services have enacted regulations that restrict or ban the advertising of tobacco products on military installations. VA does not have venues that advertise or sell tobacco products.
Current list of signatories can be viewed at: http://www.who.int/fctc/signatories_parties/en/index.html (accessed May 19, 2009).