A Qualitative Study on Project "G"

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

This marketing research report done for the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company (B&W) in 1978 sought to explore the smokers' attitudes towards smoking filter cigarettes. It discusses the results of focus group sessions held among smokers in various cities in the U.S. in 1978. The report made B&W aware that smoking frequently begins during youth, and how it comes about:

By far the majority [of focus group participants] claimed the motivation for this initial step [beginning smoking] had been peer pressure while they were in school. Others spoke of boredom in the military service as a contributing factor, or rebellion against parental or educational authority, or the fact that smoking represented 'forbidden fruit.' Or they said that they had begun with cigarettes to try and become adults, to look tough, to impress girls, or to have something to do in secret with a good friend.

Despite the fact that the tobacco industry often claims smokers are well informed about all the dangers posed by cigarette smoking, this report showed that these smokers were quite ignorant and confused about such basics as the tar and nicotine in tobacco products:

... Only a very few of the respondents appeared to have given any thought as to what tar and nicotine were ... Others advanced all types of definitions, descriptions, and ideas about what tar and nicotine did and how they acted...It followed, not surprisingly, that there was a proportionate amount of confusion as to what were the actual nicotine levels of the brands that these people were now smoking. In many cases even the units of measurements were uncertain ...

Title A Qualitative Study on Project "G"
Date 19781222 (December 22, 1978)
Type Marketing report
Bates 660044852/4920
Collection Brown & Williamson
Pages 69
URL: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xhr89e00

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