At first, I was going to say that tobacco promo material should fit right into my clothing category, but then I found that there’s a lot of other types of material out there. There’s an entire eBay category called Tobacciana.
Marlboro Country Store
Within this category, I’ve sold t-shirts, jean shirts, fleece jackets, travel bags, and jean jackets. Throughout my research for this post though, I’ve found things like lighters, cowboy hats, blankets, leathermans, dart boards, and watches too.
A lot of these items were promotional. You could save up points to get gear. This started out with the Marlboro Country Store catalog where you could redeem Marlboro Miles (Camel had a similar program with Camel Cash). These “points” were collected by cutting out the UPCs of packs of cigarettes.
Most of the items in the Marlboro catalog were outdoors-y: stuff like camping , western themed, climbing, or rafting. Sure, people want them to advertise that they were smokers (kind of a “you can’t tell me what to do” albeit in a pretty dumb way), but they also want to wear/use the gear. The thing is, they were actually really well made and are pretty durable.
Why are cigarette promo items re-sellable?
They were “sold” from a limited quantity and could only be ordered during a certain time frame.
For dating the material, there was a switch from the Marlboro Country Store to the Marlboro Gear store, and now, there isn’t a promotional program at all. These programs were disbanded by the government in 2006 – tobacco companies were forced to stop giving away promotional material at this time. These are just about 10 years old at the youngest, and the Marlboro Country Store items are even older.
So in sum, they’re not widely available, and there’s still a demand. These are perfect items for collectors!
To finish off, we all know smoking is terrible. These items aren’t ideal, but at least the company isn’t making any money on the sales anymore. I don’t really have any moral issue selling these, but you’re free to make your own decisions.
For anyone interested, John Oliver has a really funny/dirty/punch in the gut piece about tobacco and how it’s actually a really big problem in some developing nations around the world.