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About SRITA:

Stanford Research Into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising (SRITA) is a research group, which studies the effects of tobacco advertising, marketing, and promotion. Participants in this interdisciplinary program include faculty and students from several Stanford University departments including Otolaryngology, Pediatrics, Medicine, Prevention research, History and Anthropology.

Research Priorities:

  • Advertising of combustible cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and other novel tobacco products
  • Use of medical and scientific themes to reassure a worried public about the health hazards of smoking
  • Harm reduction themes in marketing of tobacco and electronic cigarettes
  • Techniques used in targeting of specific populations including women, youth, and ethnic minorities
  • Endorsements by prominent movie and TV stars, athletes, and politicians.
  • Use of cultural icons such as music, art, religious symbols, patriotic imagery, landmarks, pets, and trusted professionals.
  • Advertising regulation
  • Methods used by the industry to escape from attempts to regulate tobacco advertising
  • Advertising channel use (eg. print, web, social media, point of sale)
  • Global tobacco marketing Effectiveness of anti-tobacco advertising campaigns

Online Resources for Scholars, Regulators, and Advocates:

Since its inception in 2006, SRITA has built an online database of tobacco advertising images.  The goal is to facilitate research into tobacco advertising.

Online collection: tobacco.stanford.edu

As of January 16, 2019:

567,991 Unique viewers
23,801 Tobacco advertisements
13,672 Electronic cigarette
2,882 Pods advertisements
2,582 Anti-smoking advertisements
370 Tobacco and electronic cigarette video advertisements
821 Advertising comparison sets
1,405 Marijuana advertisements
656 Chewing advertisements
1,244 Hookah advertisements
1,239 Pipes & Cigars advertisements

  • The tobacco, electronic cigarette, anti-smoking, and comparison advertising database are searchable by a number of metadata fields. These include manufacturer (eg RJ Reynolds), brand (eg. Camel), campaign (eg. Joe Camel), theme (eg. targeting youth), date, and key words.

  • The advertisements have been organized into themes such as health claims (doctors hawking cigarettes, medicinal cigarettes), health reassurance (light, mild, low tar), appealing imagery (glamour, style), association with popular culture (music, art, sports), targeting (eg. youth, women, African Americans), sponsorships (eg. Olympic Games), cultural icons (religious symbols, motorcycles, family pets), reassuring names (True, Merit, Vantage), global village (Latin America, Asian, Europe) and numerous other categories.

  • The compendium of over 26,000+ tobacco original tobacco print advertisements, spanning 1890 through today, have been donated to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. The originals are available for study at this location.

  • Reference high resolution scans (600 dpi .tiffs) made from original print advertisements are available for use in scholarly publications. The SRITA website is populated with intermediate resolution images (@600-800 k) suitable for Powerpoint use.

  • SRITA maintains Youtube and social media channels (eg. Facebook, Tumbler, Flickr

Museum Exhibit:

“Not a Cough in a Carload: Images from the Campaign by the Tobacco Industry to Hide the Hazards of Smoking” debuted at Stanford University in 2007 and was subsequently displayed at the University of California, San Francisco, Harvard Medical School, the New York Public Library, South Station in Boston, Philadelphia, McCallen Texas, Louisiana State University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Vanderbilt University.  A second exhibit travelled to 3 major cities in Brazil.


SRITA images and commentary have appeared in numerous news outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsweek, National Geographic, and other books and journals.  SRITA images have appeared on the cover of medical journals JAMA, Tobacco Control, and Laryngoscope.


SRITA images have been used in reports by the Congress, the FDA, and numerous state and local regulators.