Tobacco industry smokers' rights publications: a content analysis

Am J Public Health. 1995 Sep;85(9):1212-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.85.9.1212.


Objectives: This study was undertaken to identify the content of tobacco industry smokers' rights publications and to analyze their major themes.

Methods: Fifty-eight issues of smokers' rights publications from 1987 to 1992 were selected at random and analyzed. The number of publications per year, number of mentions (sentences) in different thematic categories per year, and number of mentions per category per publication were examined.

Results: The number of smokers' rights publications increased rapidly from 1987 to 1992. The number of mentions across all thematic categories increased over time, with the largest numbers appearing in 1990, 1991, and 1992. The category of Political and Social Action comprised the highest average number of mentions across years.

Conclusions: These publications appear to be consistent with past and present tobacco industry strategies to counter tobacco control efforts and negative public perceptions by attempting to refute scientific evidence about the health impact of environmental tobacco smoke. Additionally, they serve the industry goals of encouraging smokers to take action to protect their rights, mobilizing public opinion, and delaying societal rejection of smoking and secondhand smoke and acceptance of smoking restrictions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Advertising
  • Attitude to Health
  • Civil Rights*
  • Freedom
  • Humans
  • Industry*
  • Nicotiana*
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Politics
  • Smoking Prevention*