Researchers find working class women are target of mass marketing campaigns by tobacco companies

July 09, 2004

What: The article examines how the tobacco industry considers social class and gender in its efforts to market cigarettes in the USA, particularly to socially disadvantaged young women. A systematic online search of tobacco industry documents using selected keywords was conducted, and epidemiological data on smoking rates reviewed.

Researchers discovered that the two largest cigarette manufacturers in the USA consider "working class" young adults to be a critical market segment to promote growth of key brands. Through their own market research, these companies discovered that socially disadvantaged young women do not necessarily desire a "feminine" cigarette brand.

Considering the tobacco industry's efforts, alongside the persistent and growing disparities in cigarette smoking by social class, and the narrowing of differences in smoking by gender, it was concluded that additional tobacco control resources ought to be directed toward working class women.
-end-
This research was supported by the American Cancer Society.

Authors: Elizabeth M. Barbeau and A Leavy Sperounis, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Center for Community Based Research, Boston; and Edith.D. Balbach; director of the Community Health Program at Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, USA.
Where: Published in Tobacco Control, June 2004: 115-120

Tufts University

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