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Special Communication
June 12, 2002

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

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Institute for Health Policy Studies, Cardiovascular Research Institute (Dr Glantz) and Traineeships in AIDS Prevention Studies, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (Dr Ling), University of California, San Francisco.

JAMA. 2002;287(22):2983-2989. doi:10.1001/jama.287.22.2983

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.