The tobacco industry has been around for centuries, and its advertising campaigns have been just as long-lasting. From the famous You're Never Alone with a Strand campaign in the United Kingdom to Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet or Ramon Allones Specially Selected, tobacco companies have used various mediums to promote their products. In recent years, however, restrictions on tobacco advertising have become more common. In Bangladesh, for example, all print and electronic media advertising of tobacco products is banned, including at retail outlets.
Additionally, banning all online tobacco sales is another possible first step in limiting supply. This is especially true in light of evidence that the tobacco industry has developed mobile applications to allow online sales that can then also be used for direct and personalized marketing. Tobacco use continues to be advertised in special magazines, during sporting events, at gas stations and stores, and in rarer cases on television. However, recent trends at the state and local levels have focused on restricting the sale of tobacco products (an area where states and localities have more direct control) rather than on advertising practices to avoid facing First Amendment challenges.
In the United Kingdom, for example, a law recently came into force that does not allow audio ads to contain music or sound effects. Video ads are limited to static black text on a white background. Product packaging is another great marketing medium for big tobacco companies; the industry still has plenty of room for maneuver to promote its brands directly on the cigarettes and other tobacco products. The current World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FMCT) guidelines state that tobacco vending machines serve mainly to promote tobacco products and recommend their prohibition. In Hong Kong, television advertising of tobacco products was banned in 1990 when the territory was still a British colony.
In 1973, cigarette advertising was banned on billboards and in movie theaters in the United States, and advertising in print media was restricted to half a page of newspapers. With the restrictions imposed on advertising and sponsorship in general, tobacco companies have opted for new promotions to establish new customers and maintain existing ones. In the Philippines, television (including cable channels) and radio stations are not allowed to broadcast any tobacco advertising after 7 in the morning. In Indonesia, while tobacco advertising is still allowed, displaying cigarette packaging and smoking activities is prohibited.