Japan Tobacco International found to be placing stealth advertising for its brands on social media

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A new report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals how tobacco giant Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has been bypassing tobacco advertising restrictions to promote its brands via Facebook pages in Germany.

JTI has set up Facebook and Instagram pages, disguised as “lifestyle” groups and without mentioning tobacco sponsorship, to assist with promoting their cigarette brands. The pages are used to promote prize competitions, and users are required to enter a JTI branded website explicitly advertising cigarettes to take part in contests.

Social Media is largely used by young people, and can be used by corporations to target this group with advertisements. While JTI highlighted their use of age restrictions to prevent young people from visiting their pages, the Bureau reports that one of the adverts had reached more than 50,000 users, many of which aged between 18 and 24.

Read the full report here.