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2010-03-15: Big Tobacco Infiltrates Social Networking Sites

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Big tobacco infiltrates social network sites
By Louisa Rebgetz

Posted Wed Oct 7, 2009 11:00am AEDT

Front of a Facebook member's homepage, September 2009. (ABC News)

Map: Darwin 0800
There are concerns big tobacco companies are using social networking sites like Facebook to sell more cigarettes.

University of Sydney PHD student Becky Freeman says strict rules for print and television advertising are forcing tobacco companies to develop marketing strategies online.

Ms Freeman is voicing her concerns at the Oceania Tobacco Control Conference in Darwin today.

She says "fan groups" for big companies have been set up on Facebook.

"Were those groups started up by the manufacturers of those brands or were they simply started up by fans of those products?" she said.

"I think what we need to have in Australia is required disclosure from tobacco companies on where they are spending their advertising money.

"We have no idea. They are not required to report it."