4. No Product Placements,
sponsorships, point-of purchase marketing, or depictions in entertainment venues.

Why is this needed?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which oversees the public airwaves, invoked a fairness doctrine in the mid-20th century, which required broadcasters to provide free time for alternate advertising on issues of public concern. The group Action on Smoking and Health argued successfully that broadcasters should grant public-health groups free time for smoking prevention ads to counter tobacco ads on television.

The FCC agreed, granting time for one free counter ad for every four tobacco ads. The anti-smoking ads were so effective that the tobacco industry voluntarily offered to stop advertising on television if it was granted immunity from anti-trust lawsuits and in exchange for loosening requirements for package warning labels. The FCC abolished the fairness doctrine in 1987.

The tobacco industry found other ways to promote its products on television indirectly through sponsorships of racing cars, placement of billboard sized ads in sports stadiums whose games are televised, and other means.  The alcohol industry advertises on television without restraint.

Product Placements

Both tobacco and alcohol target youth through alternate methods of advertising and marketing as well:

  • Anheuser-Busch boasted on its web site that it had placed its products in: Wedding Crashers, Batman Begins, Seabiscuit, Spider Man, Oceans Eleven, Terminator 3, Dodgeball, Collateral, Good Will Hunting, As Good As It Gets, Jerry Maguire, Children of a Lesser God, Mission Impossible, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Forrest Gump, The Silence of the Lambs, Platoon, Dirty Dancing, Working Girl, Top Gun, Rain Man, Erin Brockovich and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

A document uncovered in tobacco trials in the 1990s revealed how Phillip Morris provided products for use in movies as youth-oriented as The Muppet Movie and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  To prevent this from happening again, the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement of 1998:

  • Bans payments to promote tobacco products in movies, television shows, theater productions or live performances, live or recorded music performances, videos, and video games.
  • Bans tobacco brand names for stadiums and arenas. (1)


  • Alcohol companies are prominent supporters of nearly every sport that is played.  This sends a powerful message to young people that alcohol and sports are inextricably linked.
  • In France, in 1991, the health minister declared alcohol the country’s number-one health problem, and a variety of measures were adopted, including a ban (which was upheld by the European Court of Justice) on all broadcast alcohol advertising and all sponsorships, including alcohol sponsorship of sporting events.

To reduce the impact on youth of tobacco sponsorships, the tobacco settlement:

  • Prohibits brand name sponsorship of events with a significant youth audience or team sports (football, basketball, baseball, hockey or soccer).
  • Prohibits sponsorship of events where the paid participants or contestants are underage.
  • Limits tobacco companies to one brand name sponsorship per year (after current contracts expire or after three years – whichever comes first). (2)

Point-of-Purchase Marketing

  • Research shows that the single most effective prevention tool for children is high price. (3) Over the past decade, local and state governments have been increasing cigarette taxes. Despite agreeing to stop marketing to children in the tobacco settlement, the tobacco industry tripled its advertising budget and devotes three-fourths of it to price discounts for wholesalers and retailers “so our customers (read children) can afford our products.” (4)
  • A study published by CDC of 3,961 alcohol retailers in 329 communities throughout the United States found that 94 percent of stores had point-of-purchase marketing, and 44 percent of stores placed alcohol advertising within 3.5 feet of the floor, in the sight-line of children and adolescents as opposed to adults.

Depictions in Entertainment Media

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls for greatly reducing the exposure of young children to depictions of drinking and smoking in television programs and movies.  Research shows this exposure is a key factor in persuading teenagers to start smoking, start drinking, and to binge drink. (5)

  • Such exposure may account for up to half of young teenagers initiating tobacco use (6) and may even trump parents’ smoking status as a key factor in persuading kids to start. (7)
  • In 2009 more than half of PG-13 rated films contained tobacco use. (8)
  • Adolescents can see alcohol use every 14 minutes on MTV. (9)
  • Thirty-eight of the 40 highest grossing movies contain alcohol use. (10)
  • Drinking is frequently depicted as normal behavior for teenagers. (11)

Product placements, sponsorships, point-of-purchase advertising, and depictions in TV and movie content have a significant impact in influencing children and teenagers to start using addictive drugs.

This provision will prevent a commercial marijuana industry from engaging in any of these activities.



1. Personal communication with Paul Bloom, PhD, Faculty Director, Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.

2. The Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement of 1998.

3. Tworek C, Yamaguchi R, Kloska DD, Emery S, Barker DC, Giovino GA, O’Malley PM, Chaloupka FJ. “State-level tobacco control policies and youth smoking cessation measures.” Health Policy. 2010 Oct;97(2-3):136-44.

4. Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2004 and 2005 (2007), Tables 2-2C. Washington DC.

5. Council on Communications and Media. “Policy statement—children, adolescents, substance abuse, and the media.” American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics 2010;126(4):791-799.

6. Dalton MA, Adachi-Meija AM, Longacre MR et al. “Parental rules and monitoring of children’s movie viewing associated with children’s risk for smoking and drinking.” Pediatrics. 2006;118(5):1932–1942.

7. Sargent JD, Beach ML, Adachi-Mejia AM, et al. “Exposure to movie smoking: its relation to smoking initiation among US adolescents.” Pediatrics. 2005;116(5):1183–1191.

8. Glantz SA, Titus K, Mitchell S, Polansky J, Kaufmann RB. “Smoking in top-grossing movies—United States, 1991–2009.” MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010;59(32):1014 –1017.

9. Gruber EL, Thau HM, Hill DL, Fisher DA, Grube JW. “Alcohol, tobacco and illicit substances in music videos: a content analysis of prevalence and genre.” J Adolesc Health. 2005;37(1):81– 83.

10. Sargent JD, Wills TA, Stoolmiller M, Gibson J, Gibbons FX. “Alcohol use in motion pictures and its relation with early-onset teen drinking.” J Stud Alcohol. 2006;67(1):54–65.

11. Mo Bahk C. “Perceived realism and role attractiveness in movie portrayals of alcohol drinking.” Am J Health Behav. 2001; 25(5):433– 446.


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