Phillip Morris & psychology

I found a "tobacco document" on the internet & I was amazed!! This is the abstract from it:


This document is key in understanding why Philip Morris is secure in going from actively pursuing the youth market to declaring, extensively and through ubiquitous advertising campaigns, that the company doesn't want kids to smoke. In 1991, Carolyn Levy (then of PM's Marketing Research department) contracted with a company called Rapaille Associates to study the emotional reasons why people smoke, presumably so the company could better leverage these emotions in advertising and promotions. Rapaille interviewed people about their first experiences with smoking. (Many of the people he interviewed reported that these experiences occurred when they were between 4 and 9 years old). Rapaille noted that typically the first experience with smoking involved seeing an admired adult do it, feeling that that they were excluded from the activity, and that they strongly wanted to be included. Rapaille ultimately linked smoking with adult initiation rituals, risk taking, bonding with peers and the need for kids to feel like they belong to a group and can partake in an "adult activity." The study states

"The first imprinting of smoking is that adults do it, and I'm excluded...A critical element at this stage is the fact that the individual is on the 'outside,' excluded..."

The report makes recommendations to PM's marketing department based on these findings:

"Recommendations based on the Archetype:

Stress that smoking is for adults only Make it difficult for minors to obtain cigarettes Continue having smoking perceived as a legitimate, albeit morally ambiguous adult activity. Smoking should occupy the middle ground between activities that everyone can partake in vs. activities that only the fringe of society embraces. Stress that smoking is dangerous. Smoking is for people who like to take risks, who are not afraid of taboos, who take life as an adventure to prove themselves. Emphasize the ritualistic elements of smoking, particularly fire and smoke. Emphasize the individualism/conformity dichotomy Stress the popularity of a brand, that choosing it will reinforce your identity AND your integration into the group. This explains why PM supports--and advertises widely that it supports-- restricting sales cigarette sales to minors and moving cigarettes out of reach of kids. Aside from the now well-known political advantages that PM's "youth smoking prevention" programs confer, this explains why PM feels comfortable in advertising its "kids shouldn't smoke" campaigns. The company knows that the more they can project a finger-wagging, forbidden-fruit, "adults-only"-type message about smoking, the more they will stimulate kids to smoke.

Carolyn Levy, the PM scientist who headed the Archetype Project (and who had experience studying both addiction and youth marketing), was appointed the first head of PM's youth smoking prevention department in 1993.

The full link is:

Anti smoking campaigns seem to be a double edged sword when it comes to youth.

2 Replies

  • This quit has lead me to read lots of things like that and look at the reasons why I smoked and for so long.

    I agree nicotine is addictive but I think there's a lot more to it than that.

    When I was younger smoking was cool, grown up and a marker of maturity, cigarettes were advertised as other products are now.

    I associate smoking a cigarette with chilling out, emotional release and having a good old chinwag with mates, well guess what I can do all those things without using tobacco.

    I have a university degree and I would not dream of selling my soul to the devil and work for a tobacco company to try and find out why people smoke so the company could sell more, if that's the case why don't heroin dealers employ the services of psychologists? Oh yeah because heroin is illegal, smoking isn't so that makes it alright.

    I feel like such a muppet being duped by myself, society, the tobacco companies and most of all our government for putting the prices up constantly to make masses of money out of my stupidity and addiction.

  • I think I started because of the 'forbidden fruit' thing and the 'adult' thing and also the rebellion. So he was spot on when trying to draw youths in wasn't he?! Especially girls!! In my school loads of us girls smoked but not too many boys!

    If I could go back in time and talk to my 14 yearold self, I'd tell me not to be so bloody naïve. And have you any idea how hooked I will get and frightened to stop? You silly little bugger put that fag out!! Lol that's exactly what I'd say.

    When I have kids, if I ever have kids lol ill tell them all I know about smoking and addiction and hopefully deter them. If I don't succeed, then they've put themselves in the trap and I told them so. I think as a parent that has smoked for 9 years then quit, I will be plenty qualified to prevent them fromm starting :)

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