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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Rutgers: Study Explores Research of Cigarette Companies’ Marketing Strategies

In a recent article published in Tobacco Control, researchers from the Rutgers School of Public Health Center for Tobacco Studies examined the marketing strategies of cigarette companies Natural American Spirit (NAS) and Nat Sherman, following their 2017 agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove descriptors such as ‘additive free’ and ‘natural’ on the basis of their implying reduced harm. The authors note that although the companies dropped those descriptors, post-FDA agreement ads utilize other strategies and terms such as ‘real,’ ‘simple,’ and ‘different’ to signal these concepts.

Among other actions, Nat Sherman’s biggest post-FDA agreement step was to nationally rollout a new super premium brand called ‘Nat’s’ to rival NAS. Nat’s uses many of the same marketing strategies as NAS, including national magazine advertising. Both NAS and Nat’s utilize the phrase ‘Tobacco Ingredients: Tobacco and Water,’ a claim that is allowed by the FDA agreement and implies that only tobacco and water go into the making of their products.

Researchers, Drs. M. Jane Lewis and Michelle Jeong, along with Mr. Christopher Ackerman, all of the Center for Tobacco Studies, noted there is no data yet on what consumers make of these new marketing strategies and ad descriptors. They called for attention to the marketing of these products and perceptions of their risk.

Images and information on NAS and Nat’s new advertising are available on Rutgers’ Trinkets and Trash, a tobacco marketing surveillance website.

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