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Exploring the Role of Marketing Communications on Young People Tobacco Purchase Decision

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Exploring the Role of Marketing Communications on Young People Tobacco Purchase Decision



Every nation recognized the serious problems in various diseases and illness. The medical practitioners, health care providers, and the educators are together campaigning about the health and wellness. Through the basic idea that the lifestyle can affect the lives of the people and can change their health status, still the marketers and the individuals that depends on the prohibited drugs, alcohol, and/or smoking finds it hard to withdraw from their habits. This health alarming situation already reached the government’s action for regulation. But due to the heightened competition on the international market and the challenges in globalization, the government cannot aggressively stop the flow of production, trading, and consumption of the products such as cigarettes and tobaccos.

Almost everyday, the smokers are scattered in many busy place and seeing a youth who is smoking down the street seems natural in the society. This only implies that even the society cannot bridle the impacts of marketing among their youths and children because there is a progression on the smokers’ population. The most significant action that the government made is to address the various dangers in health with regards to smoking for the benefit of the people. Such lame action cannot stop the emerging demand on cigarettes and tobacco and it became more alarming now that young people mastered the art of cigarette puffing. The increasing number of young people who suffered and died due to smoking led to an interesting study of what would be the probable cause of youth’s demand in smoking.

Organizations’ Marketing Activities

Most of the time, they think that the loyalty of the consumers will lead to their success. Therefore, various studies regarding the consumer behavior and buying preferences are processed to determine needs and wants of the market (Jacoby, Johar, and Morrin, 1998). From the perspective of the marketers, various marketing activities will create such influence and effects on the people who are target or potential targets of the organization. The business leaders view the marketing as the finest approach to convince, inform, or persuade the consumers to patronize their products or services. Most of the organizations prefer to utilize the privilege in marketing and its associated activities even if it will cost a great expense. It is because the marketers are aware that through the communication, there is at least a recognized influence on the buying decisions and consumers’ taste and preferences.

Strategically, they applied the very same approach on marketing to reach the people including the youth and the children and made them realize that they need something and they must buy their products to satisfy their needs. In example, an ordinary high school student who is aware that he or she has a failing grade. In order to pass that particular subject, it’s either the student will take the tutorial program, or prefer studying along with his purchased self-help books. Based on the needs of the student, the tutorial program is a kind of system that will guide the student to fill the learning gaps. And because the tutorial program is often expensive, he will turn to study with himself together with the bunch of books. These two types of marketing strategy is an inevitable and accepted by the educators and parents for both can forge the literacy among the students.

Marketing should attempt to expose the information regarding the product and not to establish strong influence or manipulate the consumers to buy their products (Hanson and Logue, 1998). But because of the increasing competency in the international market, the firms set strategies to help the business survive. Indeed, through that simple example, the marketing affects the youth in a positive way. Marketing and the related activities only categorized as a bad strategy if the influence reached to the people who should not be part of their target market. Given to this fact is the issue of smoking. Through the marketing, various companies achieve the free will to deliver the information into different people who will give them big amount of profits in return.  

As an overview on the marketing activities of the organizations, the media is the most considered channel for advertisement. The presence of the television, Internet and websites, newspapers, tarpaulins or posters, and the use of commercials are several types of advertisements wherein the product are mirrored. In addition, there is also a great influence when the organization established various programs such as promotional activities and even discounting features just to create an increase in terms of their sales. Although the manufacturers and retailers don’t rely on utilizing the promotions and discount sales still, they can draw attention particularly on the youth because of the technologies and media.   

Tobacco Companies on Youth and Children

Every year, the cigarettes and tobacco companies enable to create revenues due to the help of marketing activities. The efforts of the marketers to sell their products eventually made the company spend much. Spending too much money to market the deadly products are continuously increasing and making them profitable (Jacoby,  Johar, and Morrin, 1998.). Due to the immense approach of the marketing communications, there is no doubt that even the younger age can be affected. Based on the previous researches, the effect of the cigarettes and tobacco companies’ on youth and children clearly states that the company has an objective to attract new smokers. With that revelation, the companies can have more demand than usual and the success in their venture is foreseeable (Hammond, 2000).

As an initial step of the cigarette and tobacco manufacturers, they claimed that they are incorporating effective actions to stop the intentions of the marketing communications towards youth and children. But this action is not that effective for whether intentionally or not, the continuing efforts of the marketers to advertise and market their products is in a position where there is no enough gauge and in return can still affect the youth. The most popular example is the channel of distribution such as the retailers and their stores to indirectly deliver the products for the consumers. The location of the outlets makes it worse for they are found in the places where there is a great number of youth and children such as schools and playgrounds. In addition, the advertisement of the various brands of cigarettes is largely hanging outside the stores which attract the smokers and the potential smokers. This evidence proved that the manufacturers still spending big amount of cash just to facilitate the influence of the retail stores. But the effect of the media on the people remains in the issue of communications.

The norm in the society and the environment might add to this external marketing that is again, favorable for the organization even if they did not exert as effort on advertising. The victims of this kind of marketing chain are the adolescents or young adults who are increasing in numbers. Based on the previous studies, adolescents are the most common smokers and they exceed the consumption of cigarettes and/or tobacco than the regular smokers (OTC, 2006). The use of the various advertisements in either outside or inside the outlets makes the youth buy more dangerous products. The advertisement of the cigarettes and tobacco also polluted the image of the teen’s magazine which gives to the idea that the steps of the companies to avoid marketing on youths are unrealistic. Whether intentionally or not, directly or indirectly, the marketing strategies targeted the youths and leaves a great influence on them. The health care providers and the government such as the United States, created derivative actions of banning some companies to, at least, minimize the effects of smoking on the young population. Of course, the manufacturers will not allow this restriction affects the operation of the business, but the impact of the scheduled raise tobacco excise taxes and the other prohibiting strategies of cigarette selling pull the company not to oppose the government’s decision.

Through the various marketing activities, the producers can freely advertise on their focused groups and often employing themes and messages that can resonates the curiosity of the youth and children. The communication can be also based on the experience of the old smokers makes the attraction stronger for the youth by telling them that through smoking, they can somehow relieve the feeling of stress. The suggestions they create might lead to the addiction of the youth on smoking, which is definitely no part of the marketing approach of the manufacturers but can relatively take an effect on their sales. 

Marketing Techniques

Various organizations are depending too much on the power of their marketing approach and without it; losses will incur (Gottheil, 2005). The rapid growth of demand on cigarettes and tobacco is tracked from the various applications of marketing techniques. Since the youth and the children are the most vulnerable viewers, simple advertisement might be appealing and attract their perceptions in favor of the brand. Marketers effectively applied the variety of techniques to increase the loyalty among the consumers and, again, attract the other potential consumers. Based on the traditions marketing techniques, the advertisement in the use of the television commercials which often includes the repetition, branded characters, catchy and interesting production features, celebrity endorsements, and promotional campaigns, the buying behavior of a consumer is tested (Calvert, 2008). The very common appealing effects that the marketers obviously use are the celebrity endorsements.

Through the influence or settled trends of the celebrities, the buying preferences of a consumer shifted. For example, a professional and popular is endorsing certain such as apparel or breakfast cereals create an image on the children, most especially on the children that looks at the person as a model. But due to the great influence of the technologies in the society, marketers also finds its way to interact with the young population through the use of the Internet such as  websites, social networking sites, online games, and advertisement in blogs (Jacoby, Johar, and Morrin, 1998; Calvert, 2008). This interaction with the technologies gave a strong evidence that the there is a trend pertaining to the advertisement and makes the children or the teenagers be influenced.

Marketing Strategies for the Youth

Marketing is not an exact science but incredibly, it makes the world of the marketers turn around (Gottheil, 2005). And without knowing, the effectiveness of the marketing strategies resulted in the buying decisions of the consumers and the perceptions towards the companies or their products. This same effect also takes place in the young mind of the youth. Sadly, the minds of the children are corrupted by the misused marketing strategies. If this same effect continuously grows on the young population, there is no doubt that the companies have successful recruits for the new batch of smokers. The mass media, in which everybody are interacted, have a significant power to encourage the youth. Therefore, the mass media have the same power to discourage the youth in their role as future smokers. There is a causal relationship between the cigarette or tobacco advertising and the increasing number of the consumptions (Hammond, 2000). The mass media can expose the various ideas that clearly influences the young population based on their attitudes and perception regarding the smoking. Even the actors who spotted in their movies and were smoking leaves a very faint influence on the youth but can still trigger the curiosity and initiating to smoking.

The initiation of a person in smoking might started through simple experimentation and if an individual continuously practice the smoking, he can be tagged as a regular smoker. And the place of the outlet and the livelihood can be also considered as depictions of marketing activities (OTC, 2006). Even the simple exposure of smoking among the members of the family or peers can attract the non-smokers and later join them. The exposure of the tobaccos in the society is heightened through the involvement of the advertisement, promotions, and cigarette samples, television, and videos doubles the curiosity of the children. The power of the marketing and media, when joined together, can be categorized as aggressive actions. It is because the company can promote the products even in five seconds airing but being viewed by over five million people (Hammond, 2000; Krugman, Quinn, and Sung, 2005). Admittedly, the people in the media industry generates profit because the saying applies in their system – every second counts. For the company is the exposure or commercials aired long, more people can be influenced but for the advertisers, it’s the other way around. If the company wishes to make the commercial last long, then the company should spend more. The relationship of the company’s marketing activities and the media is very slim but they managed to influence the consumers and their buying decisions.

Effects to Young Population

Many health care professionals assessed that once a smoker entered the market of smokers, he can become a regular smokers. Significant changes might appear such as their emotional needs, their desires to taste the other brands, aggressive expression on their independence, and individuality. In the adoption of the youth in smoking habits, definitely, the brands are high lightened to be the biggest player in building a young smoker (Devlin, Eadie, and Angus, 2003; Krugman, Quinn, and Sung, 2005). Various studies show that a youth that can recall the cigarette brands, its advertisements, and keeping the promotional items have more potential to be one of the smokers (OTC, 2006). Youths and children are more sensitive than the adults because they are observant and yet curious. Therefore, the influence of the promotional activities is more appealing to the youth.

Even if there are advertisements that is opposed on the selling campaign of the manufacturers such as informing the youth that in their latter life they might engaged with various illness and disease due to their abuse in smoking still, the population of the youth smokers grows because they believe that there is no one who can control them and they can quit anytime if they want. Apparently, most of the youth who are not seeking for help are the very same youth who became dependable in their smoking habits. Smoking became part of their everyday routine and without it; they became irritated, upset, and unease feelings (Riordan, 2009). The burden of the society becomes heavier now that most of the popular brands of cigarettes tobaccos endorsed the flavored or smokeless cigarettes and more adolescents who heard those innovated cigarettes interestingly tried some of it, believing that those might taste better the traditional cigarettes. In addition, in other countries, there are cigarettes which are in a pack and are available for the people 18 years and below. These are strong evidence that the manufacturers are not true to their agreement to avoid the youth as part of their target (Hammond, 2000).  

Call for Control and Regulations

Various concerns on the society have been raised to control the impact of the tobacco in the community. These concerns concluded that the most impact came from the marketing communications being applied by the companies and it has a direct effect on the youth and their smoking behaviors. The regulation of marketing and advertisements such as the use of the health warnings being placed on their promotional materials are directed by the government. Other concerns are raised such as limiting the manufacturers to corrupt the adolescents with 16 years of age and below (Devlin, Eadie, and Angus, 2003). Albeit the government imposed restrictions regarding the smoking and health care professionals are promoting the healthy lifestyle, still they have no power to control the marketing activities once that it had already reached the elements of media (Riordan, 2009).

It is difficult to protect the young people from the commercial communication because of the use of the marketing techniques, and without the appropriate introduction of a complete ban, the case of increasing demand on tobacco and cigarettes will not stop (Hanson and Logue, 1998). Therefore, the control is now compelled on the role of parents and other old members of the family. Apparently, no matter how hard the control maybe, the government as well as the parents cannot place a barrier to protect the youth or the children because of the immense area where the marketing rules. A ban on tobacco and cigarette industry will cause the downfall in one area of agriculture and trading. Both will manifest in the overall economic strength of the country which will be the most critical challenge among the policy makers (Gottheil, 2005).


If the youth stopped smoking and abandoned their habits, the companies market will minimize, until almost vanish. But because of the marketing efforts, the company stays in the middle of the competition to find a demand of smokers who can patronize their products. Making this more impossible to the government to eliminate the manufacturers for believe it or not, the manufacturers of the prohibited products such as alcohols, cigarettes, and tobaccos has a participation in the additional growth of the economy through the subjective taxes and importation.

Without any second thoughts, the application of the marketing activities such as advertising and promotions affects the performance of the organization. There is a significant increase on the company’s overall market share while maintaining the adult’s market share. Marketing effectiveness also did not choose its target market for if the cigarette and tobacco smoking is only for the boys, there are also evidences that smoking is also popular among the females in different ages. If the power of marketing continuously penetrated in the society, the youths’ mindsets regarding the smoking can be changed and be more acceptable. Many cigarettes and tobacco companies are sugar coating; saying that the influence of the peers and the various societal issues has more effect on the decision of a teenager to become smoker and the marketing activities leaves no evidence of faults. Together, the parents, health care providers, educators, and the government can cooperate to minimize the effects of the marketing communicators. Originally, the marketing activities are already part of the organization and they cannot control its effects particularly on the buying decisions of the consumers.


Calvert, S., 2008. Children as Consumers: Advertising and Marketing, The Future of Children, Vol. 18, No. 1.

Devlin, E., Eadie, D., & Angus, K., 2003. Tobacco Marketing and Young People [Online] Available at: [Accessed 18 March 2010].

Gottheil, J., 2005. The Influence of Tobacco, Powerwall Advertising on Children [Online] Available at: [Accessed 18 March 2010].

Hammond, R., 2000. Tobacco Advertising & Promotion: The Need for a Coordinated Global Response [Online] Available at: [Accessed 18 March 2010].

Hanson, J., & Logue, K., 1998. The Costs of Cigarettes: The Economic Case for Ex Post Incentive-Based Regulation, Yale Law Journal, Vol. 107, No. 5.

Jacoby, J., Johar, G.V., & Morrin, M., 1998. Consumer Behavior: A Quandrennium, Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 49.

Krugman, D.M., Quinn, W.H. & Sung, Y., 2005. Understanding the Role of Cigarette Promotion and Youth Smoking in a Changing Marketing Environment, Journal of Health Communications, Vol. 10 [Online] Available at: [Accessed 18 March 2010]

OTC, 2006. Children, Youth, and Tobacco: Behavior, Perceptions, and Public Attitudes, Office of Tobacco Control [Online] Available at: [Accessed 18 March 2010].

Riordan, M., 2009. Tobacco Company Marketing to Kids, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids [Online] Available at: [Accessed 18 March 2010].


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