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Responsible Marketing

Tobacco Settlement Agreement

The Ban on Youth Targeting

The Restrictions on Marketing Media

The tobacco settlement agreement, officially known as the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), is an accord reached in 1998 between the state Attorneys General of 46 states, five U.S. territories, the District of Columbia and America's major tobacco companies concerning the advertising, marketing and promotion of tobacco products. The MSA was signed after four prior agreements were entered into by the major manufacturers with the states of Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi and Texas. The tobacco settlement agreements set standards for, and impose significant restrictions on, the advertising, marketing and promotional activities of participating cigarette manufacturers.

Among the many provisions, the MSA:

  • Forbids participating cigarette manufacturers from directly or indirectly targeting youth;
  • Imposes significant prohibitions or restrictions on advertising, marketing and promotional programs or activities; and
  • Bans or restricts cartoons, transit advertising, most forms of outdoor advertising including billboards, product placement in media, branded merchandise, free product samples (except in adult-only facilities) and most sponsorships.

The Ban on Youth Targeting

The tobacco settlement agreement forbids participating tobacco manufacturers from directly or indirectly targeting youth in advertising, marketing and promotion of tobacco products.

"No Participating Manufacturer may take any action, directly or indirectly, to target Youth within any Settling State in the advertising, promotion or marketing of Tobacco Products..." Master Settlement Agreement, pp. 18-19.

The participating manufacturers and the signatory states are required to maintain ongoing communications with regard to compliance, and the National Association of Attorneys General is charged with oversight responsibilities.

The tobacco settlement agreement provides each signatory state Attorney General with independent enforcement authority to ensure compliance with the agreement. It also provides for a $50 million enforcement fund established for this purpose.

Beyond the requirements of the tobacco settlement agreement, Philip Morris USA also believes that we have an important role to play in helping to prevent youth smoking. As the manufacturer of a product intended for adults that has serious health effects, we have a responsibility to help prevent kids from smoking. Since its inception in 1998, our Youth Smoking Prevention department has spent over $600 million on youth smoking prevention and youth access prevention initiatives.

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Restrictions on Marketing Media

The tobacco settlement agreement imposes significant restrictions on the advertising, marketing and promotional activities of participating cigarette manufacturers. The tobacco settlement agreement includes the following restrictions. It:

  • Bans the use of cartoon characters in advertising, promotion packaging or labeling of tobacco products;
  • Prohibits most forms of outdoor brand advertising by the tobacco companies, including billboards, and signs and placards in arenas, stadiums, shopping malls and video game arcades;
  • Bans transit advertisements by tobacco companies, such as those on buses and taxis and at bus stops and taxi stands;
  • Prohibits tobacco companies from paying for product placement in movies, television shows or other performances or video games;
  • Bans distribution to the general public of merchandise, such as caps, shirts and backpacks, bearing tobacco brand names and logos; and
  • Bans the manufacturers from distributing free samples of tobacco products, except in adult-only facilities.

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Tobacco Settlement Agreement.

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The Master Settlement Agreement - National Association of Attorneys General The Master Settlement Agreement