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Cancer Control Research

5R03CA126433-02
Lewis, Jane
TOBACCO INDUSTRY DIRECT MAIL MARKETING

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Tobacco industry marketing has been shown to affect smoking initiation and consumption. In spite of increased regulation of tobacco advertising and marketing over the last decade, industry spending on advertising almost tripled between 1997 and 2003. The tobacco industry has a long history of shifting strategies in response to regulation. In keeping with this, traditional advertising such as magazine and billboard ads has decreased since the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement while strategies such as direct mail and coupons have increased substantially. As a permission-based form of communication with adult smokers, direct mail is currently subject to minimal restrictions and has limited visibility relative to other forms of marketing. Despite increased reliance on direct mail marketing by the tobacco industry, direct mail marketing has received little attention from the public health community. This R03 application is in response to NCI PAR-06-073, Small Grants for Behavioral Research in Cancer Control and describes a plan to address gaps in the research literature about tobacco industry direct mail marketing using tobacco industry documents and a collection of actual direct mail. Accordingly, the specific aims of this application are to: 1) retrieve and analyze internal tobacco industry documents to identify and examine the tobacco industry's purposes for direct mail and strategies utilized to accomplish these and 2) illustrate how the industry operationalizes the purposes and strategies identified in Aim 1 through a content analysis of direct mail from an archive of tobacco industry direct mail. Thus, the significance of this proposed project is its potential to generate important knowledge about the tobacco industry direct mail marketing and how the industry uses this marketing tool to promote the use of its products. These findings are useful because to the extent that direct mail and its promotions accomplish their stated purposes of maintaining and increasing tobacco sales, they may negatively influence health and undermine pro-health policy initiatives by encouraging increased consumption and discouraging smoking cessation.


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