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A Close Look at Tobacco Display

Closer Look

Activity: "What are they really saying?”

Supplies needed: Tobacco ads from magazines. If difficult to find, go to for a list of ads to print.

Optional lending library items: A Closer Look at Tobacco display case.

Purpose: To analyze advertisements about tobacco products and learn to identify what the advertisers are telling you and if it is true.

1. Hold up a magazine ad for a tobacco product. Ask the following questions:

  • What product is being advertised?
  • What message(s) are the pictures giving?
  • What message(s) are the words giving?
  • Do the pictures and words give the same message?
  • What age person would this ad appeal to the most?
  • Why?
  • Are the messages in this ad true?
  • How would you change this ad to make it more truthful about the effects of tobacco use?

Optional activity: Divide class into small groups, supply each group with one ad and a large piece of poster paper, instruct them to re-create the ad so it is accurate and share their process with rest of the class.

Discussion Points:

  • Tobacco companies target youth in their advertising campaigns and messages.
  • Some of the non-verbal messages given in the tobacco ads are not true. Tobacco ads say things people want to hear.

Visit for an updated document on tobacco industry marketing.

Back to Tobacco Lending Library