Do You Cheat At Tobacco Sweepstakes?

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Tobacco sweepstakes, encompassing cigarette, cigar, snuff, pipe and chewing tobacco sweepstakes, are one of those strictly limited, for adults only types of giveaways. Most of them are run by the big tobacco companies, and very often the prizes are great.

That said, it’s so, so tempting to enter these if you’re a non-smoker. Do you ignore the rules and enter anyway? Lots of people do.

For the record, I am not endorsing rule-breaking. Just saying it’s done.

Legal adulthood begins at 18, but tobacco sweepstakes are meant for smokers 21+, and any entrant that does not fit this profile is a rule-breaker. Because of government rules and the threat of litigation, tobacco sweepstakes sponsor take a lot of care to keep children away from their products, advertising and sweepstakes promotions. Hence the 21+ qualifier.

As a nonsmoker, I am not an expert as far as tobacco sweepstakes or tobacco in its many forms. But after years of exposure to sweepstakes I’ve noticed that tobacco giveaways often ask for a “PID.” It’s short for personal identification number. A PID is a nine-digit number that is used to identify the smoker by name and address.

If you’re a smoker, and if you have ever received a mailing from a cigarette company such as Camel or Marlboro, your mail will come with a PID. Once you have a PID you can create a login at a tobacco website and create a profile, etc. PIDs help cigarette companies track users’ consumption habits, profiles and help them market their products more efficiently.

I think the PID requirement is also a method to keep nonsmokers away from their promotions. It’s unlikely that a nonsmoker would receive promotional mailings from cigarette and other tobacco companies, effectively keeping nonsmokers out.

Tobacco giveaways are not completely and totally limited to smokers only. In the past have seen Marlboro sweepstakes with limited options for nonsmokers. They offered a second rung prize like an iPod Nano to every entrant, reserving the grand prize and other better stuff for the smokers. I personally have no problem with entering these.

I don’t know why a few tobacco companies allow nonsmokers to enter their sweepstakes. But I do know that the famous RJ Reynolds tobacco company bought the Nabisco brand, and renamed themselves RJR Nabisco. Perhaps collecting emails from the ciggie promos enables them to focus on marketing food and other stuff to nonsmokers. It’s smart strategy to diversify.

Alcohol sweepstakes

Alcohol sweepstakes are also limited to entrants 21 and over, but they’re not so severely limited and non-drinkers are welcome to enter. In the case of booze sweeps, several states, including California, Utah and sometimes Tennessee create these limitations.

According to what I once heard but won’t swear by, California does not allow alcohol sweepstakes because the Gallo company has tremendous influence in the CA state legislature. They disallowed all other alcoholic beverage companies from promoting in their state, and made booze sweepstakes null and void in the Golden State.

Utah and Tennessee rules are most likely due to religious influences. As most know, the Mormon Church is tremendously influential in Utah, and that includes the policies of the state government. They and other religious groups are likely active at limiting the rights of others in their state to enter alcohol sweepstakes. I doubt this approach wins them many new adherents, but there you go.

If you’re a nonsmoker, have you ever entered tobacco sweepstakes? If you win a big prize and you’re not a smoker, how would you prove that you smoke? Cough when you accept the prize? Weigh in if you’ve got some info.

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