Question. Are Younger Adult Smokers Important?

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

This R.J. Reynolds document, "Are Younger Adult Smokers Important?," explores marketing techniques that have been effective at convincing young people to use particular products and brands.

Page 11 (Bates No. 504447309) states, "We can do it (others have)," and goes on to describe the success other brands have achieved among young adults, using as prime examples Jack Daniels bourbon ("the Marlboro of Bourbons") and Budweiser beer. It discusses the benefits of a product having a mystique, of the product's portrayal as a "status symbol" to the "target," and of giving the product an aura of being "hard to get." Promotional merchandise, "especially clothing," is a "major element of Jack Daniels' marketing program" because it "converts YAs [young adults] into walking billboards." The document further talks about what is important to FUBYAS [First Usual Brand Young Adult Smokers] and how these psychological needs can be leveraged, like the need to belong to their peer group, the need to fit in while also being different, a need for self-identity, a desire to "live on the edge," to be seen as successful, etc.

This document demonstrates how marketers view consumers, particularly young people, which is not unlike how fishermen view various types of bait, nets, etc. In addition, this document links tobacco marketing techniques to alcohol marketing techniques. In one example, R.J. Reynolds is ran an ad campaign that implemented some of the ideas in this document in a campaign to increase sales and consumption of flavored cigarettes with names like "Kauai Kolada" and "Twista Lime." One ad for these cigarettes shows a young woman in Hawaiian garb reclining on top of two giant packs of cigarettes (of the above flavors) with what appears to be an alcoholic beverage in a coconut in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. The governor of Hawaii protested the campaign, saying it negatively impacted the image of Kauai.[1][2]

Sourcewatch resources

External resources



  1. B.J. Reyes Governor says cigarette campaign ruins island image San Francisco Chronicle. August 4, 2004
  2. R.J. Reynolds Question. Are Younger Adult Smokers Important? February 4, 1985. 108 pp. Bates No. 504447299/7406