Marketing Anti-Smoking Messages to " Hard-Core ", Older Smokers: Differences in Male and Female Attitudes

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Details

Brown, D. & Henley, N. (2001). Marketing anti-smoking messages to ‘hard-core’, older smokers: Differences in male and female attitudes. Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference 2001, Massey University, New Zealand. Original article available here


This study focused on gender differences in 40-50 year old smokers’ attitudes towards threats in anti-smoking messages. This age group of smokers has received relatively little attention in the social marketing/threat appeal literature to date, partly because their ‘hard core’ attitudes are perceived as difficult to change by social marketing and medical practitioners. We conducted four focus groups with male and female, 40 to 50 year old regular smokers. Significant gender differences were articulated in attitudinal response to threats in antismoking messages. Men in this study revealed anxiety, shame and a sense of helplessness about their smoking behaviour. Women in this study exhibited inhibitory fear, anger and resentment, and were more likely to express cognitive rationalisations for smoking. The implications for social marketing practitioners and researchers are that market segmentation on the basis of gender is advisable when designing anti-smoking campaigns targeted at older smokers

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