Tobacco Marketing Online: What the Federal Government Can Do to Protect You from Companies That Defraud You

Tobacco companies spend billions of dollars annually on marketing and advertising, targeting new users and enticing existing users to continue using their products. In particular, the tobacco industry has adopted a variety of marketing techniques to target young people, minorities, and women, all of whom they believe contribute to the industry’s success.

Despite these efforts, the federal government continues to play a crucial role in protecting consumers from being defrauded by the tobacco industry. As the largest purchaser of tobacco in the country, the Federal Government has the power to influence tobacco companies and protect consumers through the implementation of a few crucial policies.


The increasing popularity of e-cigarettes among young people presents an opportunity for the tobacco industry to reach new users and retain existing customers. E-cigarettes are discreet, portable, and convenient, providing a viable alternative to traditional tobacco products. As of May 2021, more than 25 million adults in the U.S. have tried e-cigarettes, and the number is expected to reach 40 million by the end of 2021.

With this growth comes great responsibility. Since e-cigarettes contain nicotine, they pose a risk to the society in general. However, this threat can be mitigated with proper education. For instance, if the federal government implemented a plan to raise awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes, especially regarding their impact on young people’s brains, that plan would help combat these numbers.

Pre-Tobacco Purchase Education

One of the most vital roles the federal government plays in protecting users from being defrauded by the tobacco industry is providing adequate information about the products that they purchase. If the federal government implemented a plan to thoroughly educate people about the various types of tobacco products and their health consequences, the number of people who would be fooled into thinking that certain types of tobacco are safe would be reduced.

Even better, such an initiative could result in fewer tobacco-related illnesses and deaths. To that end, the federal government could play a crucial role in raising awareness about the damaging health effects of tobacco products and in providing accurate and up-to-date information regarding the various types of tobacco products. Additionally, if the federal government were to tax cigarettes and other tobacco products heavily, it would further reduce these threats, as consumers would be less likely to purchase these products in the first place.

Digital Marketing With Tracking

Like many other industries, the tobacco industry has adopted new media and marketing techniques to reach potential customers. This has allowed them to target consumers in ways that were previously impossible. While this may bode well for the future of marketing, it also means that these techniques make it easier for the industry to track and target consumers. This can lead to increased fraud and manipulation, especially if the Food and Drug Administration does not play a crucial role in policing this behavior.

In particular, since many tobacco companies already have a firm hold on the market, they can afford to aggressively advertise on social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube, which are frequently targeted by advertisers seeking to influence users. This type of marketing, along with traditional ads on television, creates a greater risk of deception and misleading advertising. This is why the federal government has a crucial role to play in the protection of consumers, especially when it comes to their online activity. Specifically, the federal government can require tobacco companies to more thoroughly disclose information about the products that they advertise and sell, as well as enact legislation that would protect consumers from being defrauded by the tobacco industry.

The tobacco industry is a threat to society, and it is well within the federal government’s power to limit its detrimental effects. Through a few crucial policies, the federal government can effectively protect consumers from the harmful effects of tobacco and ensure that they, in fact, receive the beneficial effects of nicotine. If this were to happen, the federal government and citizens alike would all benefit.