Skip to main content

Reducing Youth Exposure

Marketing tactics aimed at youth found across surveillance studies in China, the Philippines and Vietnam


IGTC monitored the sale and marketing of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and HTPs in China, the Philippines, and Vietnam, to assess the nature and extent of tobacco advertising at points of sale in relation to local laws.

The studies covered 9,213 vendors across urban and rural areas of all three countries. In China and the Philippines, observations focused on points of sale near schools. In Vietnam, the assessment included vendors located near post offices as well as schools.

Compared to a similar study conducted in China, in 2021, a decrease in the number of cigarette and e-cigarette retailers near Chinese schools was observed in 2023—however, the presence of tobacco retailers in proximity to 39% of schools remains a concern.

In all three studies, many examples of youth-targeting marketing tactics were observed. In the Philippines, flavored products were found at more than 90% of retailers selling cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or heated tobacco products (HTPs). More than 50% of Vietnamese stores displayed cigarettes near snacks and sold single sticks. And in China, although the percentage of retailers with indoor cigarette displays narrowly decreased from 2021 to 2023, the tactic remained widely observed—and the use of indoor and outdoor advertisements increased slightly.

We saw mixed results related to signage required for the prohibition of sales to youth. In Vietnam, 88% of vendors did not meet this requirement. Compliance in the Philippines varied depending on the product: 89% of cigarette retailers and 96% of e-cigarette retailers had signage, but 48% of HTP vendors did not. The numbers in China improved, as 65% had the required signage compared to 49% two years earlier.

These studies play a critical role in making sure retailers follow important tobacco control measures passed nationally.