The “War in the Store” Continues: FTC Reports Show the Tobacco Industry Spent $8.1 Billion at the POS in 2015

Advertising Restictions, Non-Tax Price Increases, Price Promotions

In 2015, the tobacco industry spent nearly $8.1 billion marketing and promoting cigarettes and smokeless tobacco at the point of sale.

These point of sale expenditures account for over 90% of their total marketing expenditures on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco combined. These figures, recently released in the Federal Trade Commission Reports on Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco Sales and Marketing Expenditures in 2015, document a continued concentration of tobacco industry expenditures at the POS.

While cigarette sales declined from 2014 to 2015, expenditures on advertising and promotion for cigarettes increased by 3%. While sales of smokeless tobacco rose slightly, expenditures on advertising and promotion for smokeless tobacco increased by a full 14%  Most of these increases in expenditures came at the point of sale in the form of spending on price discounts, which remains the largest category for both smokeless tobacco and cigarettes, representing 84.3% of their combined marketing expenditures and increasing by 20% for smokeless tobacco from 2014-2015. Expenditures on coupons continue to grow for both products as well, with expenditures on coupons for cigarettes increasing by 32% from 2014-2015. These promotions reduce the price of products, counteracting the impact of tobacco control policies like excise taxes and targeting price sensitive smokers. See more details.
 

Examples of price discounts and promotions for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco seen at the POS  

Tobacco marketing at the POS matters. Research shows that tobacco marketing can cause youth to start smoking, keep current smokers hooked, and make it harder to quit.These Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports emphasize the critical need to monitor and address tobacco industry activity at the point of sale. Learn more about the FTC reportsThe War in the Store, and strategies to limit price discounts, promotions, and POS advertising in your community.