Tobacco Industry Initiatives on Youth Smoking Clive Bates Action on Smoking and Health
Tobacco Industry Youth Smoking Initiatives 3 main themes • Responsible marketing • Only adults should smoke • Reduce access to cigarettes
Tobacco Industry Youth Smoking Initiatives Excellent PR • Promotes laissez faire for adults • Plays well in the media and politics • Leaves critics disorientated • Offers links to governments • Impossible problem for regulators • AND WILL NOT WORK!
Market realities ‘‘ The younger smoker is of pre-eminent importance: significant in numbers, “lead in” to prime market, starts brand preference patterning…. [Brown & Williamson (BAT), 1974]
Market realities “ The ability to attract new smokers and develop them into a young adult franchise is key to brand development.” [Philip Morris, Five-Year Trends 1988-1992]
Reaching young people In the young smoker's mind, a cigarette falls into the same category with wine, beer, shaving, wearing a bra (or purposely not wearing one), declaration of independence and striving for self-identity.... Thus, an attempt to reach young smokers, starters, should be based, among others, on the following major parameters:… [Ted Bates agency, New York]
A symbol of growing up • Present the cigarette as one of the few initiations into the adult world. • Present the cigarette as part of the illicit pleasure category of products and activities. • In your ads create a situation taken from the day-to-day life of the young smoker but in an elegant manner have this situation touch on the basic symbols of the growing-up, maturity process. • To the best of your ability, (considering some legal constraints), relate the cigarette to pot, wine, beer, sex, etc.
International marketing standards …reasonable measures should be taken to ensure that the promotion and distribution of tobacco products is: • directed at adult smokers and not at youth • consistent with the principle of informed adult choice
International marketing standards • Promotional content • Media usage restrictions • Promotion and event standards • Sampling • Sponsorship • Packaging
Impossible to divide teenagers from adults Q. Audrey Wise MP. Can you give us any examples of things you would not put in in case they attracted the 14 to 15 year olds? You have rock, cult, bikes, cars and all sorts of things […] 14 and 15 year old males seem to be just as interested as 18 year olds. How do your adverts differ? • Paul Bainsfair, Chairman of a tobacco advertising agency. Perhaps if I say that it is common sense that there is going to be an overlap. Some 15-year olds are going to be more sophisticated than others. It is impossible to say that something that appeals to an 18 year old will not appeal to a 15 year old. If that is what you are getting at, obviously you are right.
Effect of partial bans • ….comprehensive advertising bans can reduce tobacco consumption… A limited set of advertising bans will not reduce the total level of advertising expenditure but will simply result in substitution to the remaining non-banned media (Saffer and Chaloupka, 2000) • JUDGE IT BY WHAT IS PERMITTED RATHER THAN WHAT IS BANNED…
"We [.] believe that the multinationals' strategy is proactive and is a way to improve their image. … the multinationals could be trying to counter a number of proposals that the WHO has been working on to curb the amount of cigarettes that are consumed on an international level."One would think that the elimination of certain marketing practices would effectively decrease advertising spending and hence increase margins, however we believe the modest amount the multinationals actually spend on these types of practices will be redirected into other types of marketing promotions i.e., point of sale activity.
Purpose: avoid legislation “… we refined the objective of a juvenile initiative program as follows: “Maintain and proactively protect our ability to advertise, promote and market our products via a juvenile initiative”. [Cathy Leiber, Philip Morris International, 1995]
Only adults should smoke ‘They’re hypocritical, you know which teachers smoke, we all know which teachers smoke yet they say to us, “Don’t smoke, it’s disgusting”. Stinking of fags. It’s just listening to their opinion really. People can’t tell you not to smoke if they smoke themselves.’ [Focus group – 14-15 year girls]
Success = reduction in legislation ‘“As we discussed, the ultimate means for determining the success of this program will be: 1) A reduction in legislation introduced and passed restricting or banning our sales and marketing activities; 2) Passage of legislation favorable to the industry; 3) greater support from business, parent, and teacher groups.” [Joshua Slavitt, Philip Morris, “Tobacco Industry Youth Initiative,” 1991]
Mobilise boring figures of adult-imposed authority “mobilise teachers, parents, Government and public health bodies in an integrated communications campaign with effective messages” [BAT, 2000]
Ukraine: innocence against smoking “I don’t have time to smoke” (Kiev, Ukraine)
Underage access ‘If we can frame proactive legislation or other kinds of action on the Youth Access issue…we will be protecting our industry for decades to come. [Philip Morris, 1995]
Someone will get them for you ‘No matter how old you are, someone will get them for you.’ [13-14 year old girl, smokers, Birmingham] ‘Buyer’s Rights, you get two from twenty and one from ten…’ [Year 9 boys, smokers. Southampton]
Makes you want them more ‘That would make people want them more…it’s the idea that you’re not supposed to have them… “I’m not supposed to touch that, so I’m going to go and get some”’ [13-14 year old girls, non-smokers, Newcastle]
Easily defeated ID cards About the CitizenCard ‘I want an ID card so I can say I’m a bit older so I can go and buy fags, instead of having to wait for ages for people to go into the shop and get them for me.’ ‘If you go into the back of your FHM [a ‘lad’ magazine], you can send away for an ID…for £20 you can get the kit…makes about 3 IDs, hologrammed, laminated, the lot! My mate at school has got one and it looks really realistic.’ [13-14 year old boys, smokers, Southampton]
Tobacco Industry Youth Smoking Initiatives Self-serving PR • Resist legislation and appear to be co-operating • Frame the ‘issue’ as a kids problem • Focus on adults helps sell to kids – play on adult aspiration and rebellion • Call for more research – but ignore existing research • Advocate things that don’t work – (but resist things that do)
Conclusion • Tobacco industry should withdraw its youth smoking initiatives • Governments should avoid involvement with the tobacco industry’s youth smoking initiatives • Public health should not fall into youth prevention traps