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Special Communication |

Using Tobacco-Industry Marketing Research to Design More Effective Tobacco-Control Campaigns

Pamela M. Ling, MD, MPH; Stanton A. Glantz, PhD
JAMA. 2002;287(22):2983-2989. doi:10.1001/jama.287.22.2983.
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To improve tobacco-control efforts by applying tobacco-industry marketing research and strategies to clinical and public health smoking interventions, we analyzed previously secret tobacco-industry marketing documents. In contrast to public health, the tobacco industry divides markets and defines targets according to consumer attitudes, aspirations, activities, and lifestyles. Tobacco marketing targets smokers of all ages; young adults are particularly important. During the 1980s, cost affected increasing numbers of young and older smokers. During the 1990s, eroding social acceptability of smoking emerged as a major threat, largely from increasing awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke among nonsmokers and smokers. Physicians and public health professionals should use tobacco-industry psychographic approaches to design more relevant tobacco-control interventions. Efforts to counter tobacco marketing campaigns should include people of all ages, particularly young adults, rather than concentrating on teens and young children. Many young smokers are cost sensitive. Tobacco-control messages emphasizing the dangers of secondhand smoke to smokers and nonsmokers undermine the social acceptability of smoking.

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Figure. R.J. Reynolds Illustration of Changing Major Segments From 1960 to 1985
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The major trends noted in the report were the disappearance of the Traditional segment, which has lost 90% of its share since the 1950s, the rise and stability of the Virile segment, which has been stable at 40% since the 1960s, the growth of the Coolness (menthol) segment, which peaked in the 1970s and then began to decline, the decline of the Moderation (low-tar) segment since 1980, and the sharp growth of the Savings segment since its introduction in 1980.26

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