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.