The Decline in the Growth Rate of Marlboro Red

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

The Decline in the Growth Rate of Marlboro Red

This internal Philip Morris memo from 1975 shows how important youth smoking is to Philip Morris (PM) for sustaining sales of its flagship brand, Marlboro. The author describes the extreme importance of "the teenage years" to the cigarette industry: own data, which includes younger teenagers, shows even higher market penetration [of Marlboro] among 15-17 year-olds. The teenage years are the most important because those are the years during which most smokers begin to smoke, the years in which initial brand selections are made and the period in the life-cycle in which conformity to peer-group norms is greatest.

He then describes how youth smoking has caused such a "phenomenal" growth rate for Marlboro:

Marlboro's phenomenal growth rate in the past has been attributable in large part to our high market penetration among our younger smokers...I pointed out that the number of 15-19 year olds is now increasing more slowly and will peak in 1976, and then begin to decline...

Other parts of the document show PM's disappointment at lagging sales of Marlboros, particularly to youth, and analyzes "why things fell apart" in 1974, when sales of Marlboro fell below what they had predicted based on the number of 15-19 year-olds in the population.

Date 19750521
Author Myron E. Johnston
Bates 1000024921/4927
Collection Philip Morris
Pages 7

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