Marketing for tobacco, sugary sodas, and ultraprocessed foods is everywhere and driving a global crisis of poor health that includes rising rates of cancer obesity, lung disease and more.
Why? Tobacco, alcohol and food companies use vast budgets and influence to lobby against sensible restrictions on the marketing of their harmful products. They also take advantage of unregulated social media, streaming platforms and other digital platforms to reach kids and other consumers.
The result is that billions of people, including young people, are being aggressively exposed to digital marketing from unhealthy industries. They are undermining people’s health and causing serious economic and healthcare burdens for countries around the world.
The systems, practices, and pathways through which businesses harm health and worsen inequity are known as the commercial determinants of health, and marketing is a key component of that.
The good news: There are policy solutions and tools available to governments and media companies to proactively reduce this marketing.
Vital Strategies has been working with governments and civil society for nearly two decades to monitor unhealthy industries and protect people from their marketing tactics. Learn more about our work.
Watch: India Regulates Tobacco Content on Streaming Services
India is the first country in the world to regulate tobacco content in online video streaming platforms such as Netflix. The new regulations will help prevent tobacco industry messaging and imagery from reaching the ever-expanding audiences that consume media online, especially youth.
Nandita Murukutla, Vice President, Global Policy and Research at Vital Strategies and Jorge Alday, Director, STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog, explain how this bold step to prevent tobacco industry messaging on streaming media came about and how other countries can follow.
Statement new guidelines to address tobacco marketing in digital media
These specific guidelines address tobacco marketing in digital media and offer an important roadmap for countries to reign in these new channels that the tobacco industry uses to reach the next generation.
Initiatives and Tools to Curb Industry Interference
STOP is dedicated to rigorously exposing the tobacco industry’s efforts to derail tobacco control and hook a new generation of users. We work around the world, with a special focus on low-and middle-income countries where the industry is aggressively targeting communities and where the biggest populations are at risk for tobacco-related disease burden. Read more at exposetobacco.org
Vital Strategies’ Tobacco Enforcement and Reporting Movement (TERM) is an AI- powered, expert-driven monitoring system built in response to the industry seizing on the power of digital platforms. TERM tracks and analyzes tobacco marketing using news and social media listening, and packages findings into easy-to-read reports that are available for governments, tobacco control advocates, researchers, journalists and other stakeholders. Find out more at teermcommunity.org
Trouble Brewing: Making the case for alcohol policy. Alcohol is a leading contributor to death and disability worldwide, but the global public health response to the harms of alcohol use is not commensurate with alcohol’s social, economic and health burden.
Fool Me Twice. Multinational food, soda and alcohol giants are employing the same tactics that made tobacco a pariah in the global public health conversation.
The Sobering Truth: Incentivizing Alcohol Death and Disability. Billions of dollars are given to the alcohol industry every year through tax breaks, marketing subsidies and other incentives. This report uncovers these “perverse incentives,” and examines how the industry interferes in government policies that are aimed at reducing consumption of alcohol products.