AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print Aug 18, 2011
American Journal of Public Health, 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300157
October 2011, Vol 101, No. 10 | American Journal of Public Health 1942-1954
© 2011 American Public Health Association
RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
Reinforcement of Smoking and Drinking: Tobacco Marketing Strategies Linked With Alcohol in the United States
Nan Jiang, PhD, MS and Pamela M. Ling, MD, MPH
Nan Jiang and Pamela M. Ling are with the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco. Pamela M. Ling is also with the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.
Correspondence: Correspondence should be sent to Pamela M. Ling, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Box 1390, 530 Parnassus Ave, Suite 366, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Reprints can be ordered at http://www.ajph.org by clicking the “Reprints/Eprints” link.
Objectives. We investigated tobacco companies’ knowledge about concurrent use of tobacco and alcohol, their marketing strategies linking cigarettes with alcohol, and the benefits tobacco companies sought from these marketing activities.
Methods. We performed systematic searches on previously secret tobacco industry documents, and we summarized the themes and contexts of relevant search results.
Results. Tobacco company research confirmed the association between tobacco use and alcohol use. Tobacco companies explored promotional strategies linking cigarettes and alcohol, such as jointly sponsoring special events with alcohol companies to lower the cost of sponsorships, increase consumer appeal, reinforce brand identity, and generate increased cigarette sales. They also pursued promotions that tied cigarette sales to alcohol purchases, and cigarette promotional events frequently featured alcohol discounts or encouraged alcohol use.
Conclusions. Tobacco companies’ numerous marketing strategies linking cigarettes with alcohol may have reinforced the use of both substances. Because using tobacco and alcohol together makes it harder to quit smoking, policies prohibiting tobacco sales and promotion in establishments where alcohol is served and sold might mitigate this effect. Smoking cessation programs should address the effect that alcohol consumption has on tobacco use.