What is sampling?
Sampling is the distribution of coupons and smokeless tobacco for free or cigarettes at a nominal cost (such as a penny), often at family events where minors are present.
How does it impact my community?
The tobacco industry sends representatives to community events to attract new users and to introduce different tobacco products.
Where is sampling found?
California law limits the free distribution of tobacco products to “adult environments”; this includes not only bars, but also tents or trailers in “adult restricted areas” at public venues.
Why do they give away so many free samples?
Since there are restrictions on advertising, free product giveaways have become a very successful marketing activity to hook new users without the notice of the greater population.
Tobacco companies are able to sponsor local and national events under their corporate names. However, due to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tobacco advertising regulations that went into effect in July 2010, all tobacco brand-name sponsorships are banned. To learn more about what the FDA is doing to regulate tobacco, including laws regarding sampling and sponsorship, click here.
Many tobacco sponsored events have involved spectator sports and activities popular with families, such as rodeos, fairs, festivals and racing – thus exposing children to heavy amounts of tobacco company logos.
Sports sponsorships influence kids to smoke. The Cancer Research Campaign found that boys are twice as likely to become regular smokers if they are racing fans.6
In addition, many of these sponsored events were televised, giving the tobacco company billboards and logos television airtime.
In 1999, a year after the MSA ban, racing sponsorships gave the tobacco companies TV exposure worth more than $122 million, along with millions more in radio, magazine and newspaper exposure.7
In 2007, the City of Chico fought back against tobacco industry sampling and sponsorship at Chico State University and passed a local ordinance that bans the free distribution of all tobacco products and coupons.
Thumbs up for Michael Schumacher (left)and Eddie Irvine for their performance at a Grand Prix championship, but thumbs down by WHO for Big Tobacco sponsorship of this and other sports.