Social acceptability [of smoking]
Smoking remains a socially accepted custom in Japanese society. However, heightened attention to claims about smoking and health and ETS ["environmental tobacco smoke"], combined with increased publicity about restrictions on smoking and smokers elsewhere, may begin to erode social acceptability in Japan.
Maintain social acceptability
Philip Morris USA is exploring current smoker and non-smoker attitudes on the issues of environment and litter. SpecificaIly, the company is interested in market reaction to devices to assist in removing cigarette butts such as public ashtrays and portable ashtrays; also, they are interested in market reactions to an R.J. Reynolds campaign regarding cigarette butts on beaches.
Corporate efforts at environmental clean-up are not going to cause a product switch. While the respondents wanted companies to be environmentally active, they would not seek and buy the companies products to reward them for their efforts. As one put it, "Most people are environmentally conscious if it is convenient." They felt that companies should accept the responsibility for changing its products to be compatible with the environment as a matter of policy. None could think of an example in the past five years of an environmentally conscious company where efforts were strong enough for them to switch to their products.
The pocket ashtray received a strong, positive response. Both smokers and non-smokers considered the pocket ashtray to be an excellent idea saying that it offered a creative solution to the problem of cigarette butts. The smokers were particularly interested in the pocket ashtray concept. They seemed very willing to use the ashtray if it would benefit the environment They said the pocket ashtray added a personal touch and sense of individual responsibility to the issue of preventing litter with cigarette butts. The smokers seemed eager to find a means which would make it easier for them to both eliminate cigarette butt litter and to avoid the ire of non-smokers. One gets the sense that smokers have been very sensitized by nonsmokers about this issue and look with a sense of relief upon devices which show that they are doing everything they can to be responsible about their smoking.
In summary, it appears that the pocket ashtray has three levels of benefit: One, it helps reduce cigarette butts; two, it shows non-smokers that smokers are environmentally responsible and; three, it allows smokers to feel pro-active by doing something positive to limit the impact of their smoking on others.
The "Don't Leave Your Butts On The Beach" campaign received an overwhelmingly positive response. The respondents unanimously agreed that the campaign reflected a high degree of corporate responsibility. They liked the idea that it did not preach about the morality of smoking but rather made a statement in the public interest which would benefit both smokers and non-smokers. In this sense, several said that it reminded them of the "Drink Responsibly" campaign.
Respondents feel that the best way to handle litter in general, and cigarette butts in particular, is through the use of education and individual responsibility. It is in this context that the "Butts" campaign is viewed so positively by the respondents. The campaign received strong support, not because the environmental/litter/cigarette butt issues are high-priorities, but rather because the campaign accurately reflects where these issues have evolved to in the public consciousness, i.e., out of the government's hands and into the individual's. Thus, for the "Butt's" campaign to communicate that people, not governments, should be taking care of the environment meets with a rousing chorus of agreement.
The write-up in the March Issue of Fortune indicating you would like to beat the anti-smoking group at their own game or at least take the wind out of their sails, prompts this letter.
I have invented and patented a great image builder for the cigarette industry. A Personal Cigarette Extinguishe/Ashtray. It provides the smoker with a better image - for here is a smoker who cares. A smoker who uses our Ashtray cannot start a fire (or burns and scorches).
This is the right product at the right time for your industry. A new inexpensive advertising medium - an advertising medium no one can criticize!
P.S. Smokers who use our Ashtray do not litter, an unexpected benefit.
PDG [RJR's Premium Development Group] does [...] feel that the concept of a high quality pocket/portable ashtray has positive public service implications (Public Affairs/Relations customer mailings, Trade/Executive meetings, etc.)
Non-smokers were more aware of environmental issues than smokers.[...]
Litter did not appear as an issue to any of the respondents -- the interviewer had to prompt the groups to think about it.
When they did consider the issue, non-smokers felt cigarette filters were one of most annoying forms of litter. They were everywhere, didn't go away, smelled bad and also conveyed a "don't care" attitude on the part of smokers.[...]
Portable ashtrays were the preferred method of disposal by both non-smokers and smokers. Smokers viewed the portables as adding a sense of personal responsibility toward the environment (the interviewer recognized that smokers appeared to be more sensitized toward finding ways to draw less attention or complaints from non-smokers).
The "Butts Off the Beach" program was well-received by both smokers/non-smokers. It was viewed as reflecting a high degree of corporate responsibility and compared to "drink responsibly" campaigns.
Both groups said that the concept could start a national trend that they would endorse because beaches epitomized the pristine outdoors.
Though not reflected in the survey, the interviewer indicated to Bill Bittner that most people felt the "Butts Off the Beach" program was more appropriate to the "cool" messages conveyed by Camel advertising. Marlboro was not seen as a brand likely to sponsor such a program because the cowboy symbolized toughness and tough guys don't carry pocket ashtrays -- or pick butts off the beach.
PM is considering developing programs that will curtail and clean up cigarette butt and packaging litter, to be tested during 1998 . At least one program will focus on changing consumer (smoker) behavior, in specific places where cigarette litter is an issue.[...]
[...]the agency will develop a program outline to include:
Disposable Ashtray Project
Coordinate RJR Corporate and Brand efforts in 1991 to ensure company goes on the record as providing a solution to cigarette butt litter.
|2. How Do These People Relate To The Problem of Cigarette Litter?||It is not top of mind, among other problems that smokers face in today's social environment. However, once it is brought to their attention, they admit that it is a problem--especially in front of workplaces, at public transit sites, in parking lots and at beaches/parks. They believe that people--not companies, government, etc.--are the ones primarily responsible for preventing cigarette litter.|
Cigarette waste, mainly the spent "butts", are discarded in many different ways and eventually end up in sewage treatment plants, septic tanks, roadways, parking lots, etc. Previous literature indicates that cellulose acetate degrades very slowly (1-2 years), even in biologically controlled environments.
Industry concern regarding spent cigarette butts is on the increase. In 1995, RJR began a nationwide anti-litter campaign urging smokers to be considerate and dispose of their butts properly. Millions of pocket ashtrays continue to be given away under this program. In order to address this issue from a product perspective, an R&D project was begun to investigate alternative filter designs and materials. The project's overall goal is to have the filter "disappear within one month".