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Tobacco Advertising

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Cigarette labelling laws differ from country to country. How effective are the new laws and have they made any difference on how the public perceive smoking and are these views echoed globally?


Tobacco smoking is one of the most addictive recreational activities that one can pursue. The general uses of smoking include pleasure, ritualistic or social purposes as well as self-medication or simply to satisfy physical dependence.

In 1965, the US Congress mandated a gentle caution on each cigarette packet and since then the rest of the world has followed suit, whether immediately or progressively. Since the introduction of telling the consumer the amounts of tobacco as well as the amounts of nicotine and tar was in the cigarette itself. In the 1990’s other laws were passed to try and cut out and lower smoking, including the banning of TV advertising as well as sponsorship which uses any tobacco logos or brands. However, the only sport which can still use tobacco sponsorship is Formula One. Tobacco companies have until 2009 for sponsorship of F1 teams due to legislation banning the advertising of tobacco products within the sport, however the only team that used tobacco advertising in the 2006/2007 season was the Ferrari team.

There are arguments which have been produced by Canada which argue the vivid features of the Canadian warnings have succeeded in engaging smokers. Reading and thinking about the warnings was also found to be positively associated with intentions to quit. These arguments are counterclaimed by Carter Chapman, who argues that warnings are an assault on free enterprise and the national economy. These arguments are made because the introduction of warnings threatened to depress demand for tobacco products and thus reduce employment in the industry.

According to J. Schroeder, “photography informs, shows, communicates and it structures choice.” This is exactly why the legislation was brought in. The pictures are there to inform and show the consumer what they are doing to themselves, and then for them to make a final choice on whether they are willing to partake in smoking or not. The claims made here by Schroeder are in line with what the legislation is trying to achieve, stop the younger generation smoking.

According to Krugman, a main problem is repetition. After 12 months the pictures will need to be rotated or changed as people will become accustomed to seeing the pictures and taking no notice of it. If you are smoking 40 cigarettes a day, then the consumer will be see the pictures over 12,000 times a year.

I intend to demonstrate that there are differing views on message effectiveness and that consumer perceptions on smoking are echoed globally.

Research Objectives:

There are a number of more concise objectives for this dissertation, however, my overall objective is to assess the success or failure of tobacco warnings and whether the consumer perceptions are echoed globally, focusing on Australia, Canada, Thailand and the UK. My other research objectives are:

1) To examine the effectiveness of tobacco warning images on tobacco packets.

2) To identify opinions from Thailand and Canada on imagery and investigate whether the international community believe imagery is the most effective message carrier.

3) To examine theory which supports or contradicts the differing levels of effectiveness of the message carrier?

4) To discover and generalise the opinions of nations about to introduce the imagery laws and whether they believe they will be more effective or not..


Theoretical Perspective:

1) Conduct a review on the literature on message effectiveness and consumer behaviour.

2) Carry out primary research, firstly in Thailand and Canada to see what the perceptions of the consumer are on the use of imagery on tobacco packets.

3) Carry out primary research in 3 other countries to see whether consumers believe warning images will have an effect on tobacco smoking.

The primary research which I am looking to carry out both with Australian, Thai, Canadian and British Nationals include questionnaires as well as telephone interviews.

I have chosen specifically to use questionnaires as I believe them to be able to give the most open answers as people from differing countries are bound to have differing arguments, which is why I have specifically chosen an open-ended questionnaire. There are constraints to using an open-ended questionnaire and I believe the main constraint to be time. Everyone that I ask will be willing to answer the questionnaire, however, I believe the questionnaire has to be able to answer many questions in each question so that the recipient will not feel too aggravated by many questions which may lead to inconsistent answering.

I have chosen to undertake 2 questionnaires. They will include the same questions, however there will be some differing questions to finish off the questionnaire. “Shock questions” (Showing pictures of what is currently on Thai and Canadian cigarette packets) will be used when I am researching British and Australian participants as they will be more effective, than using these questions on Thai and Canadian nationals as they have been exposed to these pictures for at least 1 year. I believe that my findings will still be able to be quantified as the additional questions will be on a scale so these will be analysed thoroughly and results

Closed questions such as demographics and scaling questions will help provide information on the message effectiveness which will enable me to analyse the data with definite answers rather than differing answers within the open-ended questions, however these open-ended questions help me receive more of an insight on other issues.

Telephone interviews on the other hand will provide an insight. Due to knowing many of the recipients already, I believe a light hearted, yet serious conversation may open the minds of many of the recipients so that they will answer to their full potential.

The consumers behaviour is very important and the use of



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