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The Reach and Impact of Direct Marketing via Brand Websites of Moist Snuff



Restricting tobacco marketing is a key element in the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) public health framework for regulating tobacco. Given the dearth of empirical data on direct marketing, the objective of this study was to assess the reach and impact of promotions on sales through snuff websites.


Nine brands of snuff, representing more than 90% of market share, were monitored for content of coupons, sweepstakes, contests, and other promotions on their respective websites. Monthly sales data and website traffic for the 9 brands, corresponding to the 48-month period of January 2011 through December 2014, were obtained from proprietary sources. A time-series analysis, based on the autoregressive, integrated, moving average (ARIMA) method, was employed for testing the relationships among sales, website visits, and promotions.


Website traffic increased substantially during the promotion periods for most brands. Time-series analyses, however, revealed that promotion periods for 5 of 7 brands did not significantly correlate with monthly snuff sales.


The success in attracting tobacco consumers to website promotions demonstrates the marketing reach of snuff manufacturers. This form of direct marketing should be monitored by the FDA given evidence of adolescents' exposure to cigarette brand websites.

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