Tobacco on the web: Surveillance and characterisation of online tobacco and e-cigarette advertising

Amanda Richardson, Ollie Ganz, Donna Vallone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Background Despite the internet’s broad reach and potential to influence consumer behaviour, there has been little examination of the volume, characteristics, and target audience of online tobacco and e-cigarette advertisements. Methods A full-service advertising firm was used to  collect all online banner/video advertisements occurring in the USA and Canada between 1 April 2012 and 1 April 2013. The advertisement and associated meta-data on brand, date range observed, first market, and spendwere downloaded and summarised. Characteristics and themes of advertisements, as well as topic area and target demographics of websites on which advertisements appeared, were also examined.Results Over a 1-year period, almost $2 million werespent by the e-cigarette and tobacco industries on the placement of their online product advertisements in the USA and Canada. Most was spent promoting two brands: NJOY e-cigarettes and Swedish Snus. There was almost no advertising of cigarettes. About 30% of all advertisements mentioned a price promotion, discount coupon or price break. e-Cigarette advertisements weremost likely to feature messages of harm reduction (38%) or use for cessation (21%). Certain brands advertised onwebsites that contained up to 35% of youth (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-347
Number of pages7
JournalTobacco Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)


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