Industry marketing of tobacco products on social media: case study of Philip Morris International’s IQOS

March 16, 2023
BMJ British Medical Journal

Heated tobacco products (HTPs) represent a growing segment of the global tobacco market. The largest market share of HTPs is held by Philip Morris International’s (PMI) product, IQOS, which is sold in 68 countries and has over 17 million users, based on PMI’s claims.

Newer products, including HTPs, might be particularly likely to use social media as they emerge in the global market to gain market share. Social media platforms offer products global marketing reach to potential and current customers that can be tailored to country-specific priorities. Companies such as PMI may use multiple social media platforms simultaneously in marketing a product to consumers.

A growing body of the literature has documented that social media marketing of novel tobacco products including e-cigarettes, hookah and cigars exists and is effective. Many e-cigarettes, hookah and cigar products have official social media product pages and accounts. In addition to official accounts, these products may use influencer marketing strategies on social media whereby social media users with many followers (ie, influencers) are paid to promote tobacco products (eg, show themselves using the product). Exposure to tobacco on social media, including e-cigarettes, has been associated with product uptake.

Read the study on BMJ Journals' website.