RJR: RE: Transmittal of Summary Report on Public Affairs Components of SOSAS (Study of the Social Aspects of Smoking) Research

RE: Transmittal of Summary Report on Public Affairs Components of SOSAS Research



RJR: Bates #s 500851299-1326

Date: 12/22/78
Author:Durden, Dennis
To: Peterson Jr; Christopher H; Crohn M; Sustana R; Tucker

Title Memorandum Prepared by RJR Employee Transmitted to RJR Employee, RJR Managerial Employees, and RJR In-house Legal Counsel for the Purpose of Providing Confidential Information in Order to Assist in the Rendering of Legal Advice Concerning Smoking and Health Issue.

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RJR
R. J. Reynolds Industries, Inc.
Winston-Salem, NC 27102(??)

Dennis Durden Vice President

December 22, 1978

TO: Mr. J. R. Peterson
Mr. Hudnall Christopher
Max Crohn, Esq.
Mr. Ron Sustana
Mr. C. A. Tucker

RE: Transmittal of Summary Report on Public Affairs Components of SOSAS Research

As requested, I have prepared the attached summary. It recaps the major SOSAS implications for future public affairs efforts in RJRT and the Tobacco Institute. Hopefully, there are also some useful inferences for RJRTI and ICOSI.

In preparing this summary, I have followed the injunction that brevity is a cardinal virtue. At this point, I only hope that I haven't done too much refining and concentrating on the rich lode that SOSAS represents. However, if I have, I feel confident that any omissions will come to light during follow-up planning and implementation of action programs. Such programs, of course, are ultimate objectives of SOSAS.

When compiling the report, I have included the key items that I feel we have learned during our SOSAS effort. I did not limit myself to just the things we learned from SOSAS. The world didn't stop while we did SOSAS, and countless other events took place. Numerous related studies came across my desk and new insights were gained from our ongoing work and special efforts. In the attached report, all of these were grist for my mill if they related to the nine target SOSAS goals.

Further, in keeping with your request, the nine targets provide the structural frame for the report which follows my ICOSI report formats. Each of the nine goals is the heading for a separate section In which I have made my summary points that are responsive to the goal.

I look forward to discussing any parts of the report where you feel my further commentary would be helpful to you or the cause.

Dennis Durden

cc: Mr. J. Tylee Wilson, Mr. Wm. D. Hobbs, Mr. E. A. Horrigan, S. B. Witt, III, Esq.

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SECTION I

Target Goal #1: Reversing Steadily Unfavorable Trends in Public Opinion Regarding the Social Acceptibility of Smoking

Public Affairs Overview on This Goal

Public affairs has a special, but limited, interest in public opinion. It concerns us only to the extent that it influences decisions by public groups and the stands taken by public leaders. Unless countervailing steps are taken (such as lobbying), public decision-making will march with public opinion. Likewise, public opinion will follow public "commotion" (the thoughts and feelings of so-called opinion leaders, trendsetters and precursors when their musings are presented to the general public by the media).

Obviously, in its dealings with public groups and leaders, public affairs likes to "go with the flow" and "ride the tide" of public opinion. So do public leaders. Increasingly pols read the polls. For some time now, the cigarette industry's public affairs has been swimming against the tide of both public opinion and public commotion.

Operationally, the main public affairs issues in Goal #1 are what, if anything, can be done to turn the tides, and until they turn, how does the industry continue to maintain a capacity to swim upstream while still having some public leaders swimming with us.

Key Findings Emerging During SOSAS

1 . Public and leadership opinion flowed even more strongly against smoking and the tobacco industry during 1977 and 1978.

2. Some favorable public commotion began to emerge and questioned some conventional wisdom about smoking and society.

3. Public and leadership opinion about the social acceptability aspects of smoking is tightly bound up with their strong negative opinions about the primary health issue. Efforts directed towards improving the social acceptability of smoking are heavily shadowed by the primary health issue.

4. Legal constraints arising from the primary health issue also place a shroud over programs aimed at changing public and leadership opinions on social acceptability issues.

5. The primary health issue casts such a pervasive shadow and legal shroud that the best chances for successful programs lie in treating social acceptability issues through related themes. Thus far, there is no demonstrated capacity for meeting social acceptability issues head-on with programs to change general public opinion.

6. In evaluating the effectiveness of such related themes, the following results have been demonstrated by SOSAS research:

a. The strongest themes for resisting social acceptability attacks are those that stress the dangers of increasing governmental encroach-

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Target Goal #1

ment into personal choices and lifestyle.

Note: This is not exactly "a freedom of choice argument." It is more precisely an argument that says in effect "don't let Big Brother take away any more of our freedoms to choose how we want to live our lives."

b. Attempts to defend smoking's social acceptability based on its economic contributions are not persuasive to the general public or to most public leaders. However, these themes do strike responsive chords in specific "family" audiences and leaders.

c. Likewise, "trivializing" the smoking acceptability issue is not a strong persuasive theme for changing general public opinion. However, this approach does have limited applicability when cast in the context of such statements as "the police have more important things to do than arrest smokers."

d. Heritage, pride, and historical themes have little general effectiveness with changing opinions of the general public and most public leaders. Again, however, there are exceptions in selected target audiences such as the family.

7. To repeat, successful social acceptability approaches by the tobacco industry are generally those that are linked to other broader themes.

As yet, public and leadership opinions cannot be shifted using themes related strictly to merits of the case because of the overriding shadow of the basic health issue and collateral legal shrouds.

8. The successes of tobacco industry public affairs efforts are generating increasingly negative public and leadership opinion about the "undue influence" that the tobacco industry and its money exert on government and on public decisions.

9. Increasingly, the general public and its leaders are of the opinion that smoking is a messy, indulgent, downscale, non-family oriented, nonfashionable habit--one that is increasingly a smaller part of contemporary lifestyles and increasingly alien to contemporary aspirations. Long term, this is the most difficult social acceptability issue to approach from the "staff" side of the company and its trade associations. It seems to be a job for line functions like marketing.

10. Overall public and leadership opinion on the three basic aspects of social acceptability can be summarized as follows:

a. On the annoyance aspect of social acceptability issues, smokers and non-smokers increasingly hold that smoking is polluting and discourteous social behavior that can be a real annoyance to others, including other smokers.

b. On the public smoking aspect of social acceptability issues, an increasing segment of public opinion holds that being in the presence of smokers is hazardous to one's health. There is evidence that leadership opinion is not now moving so strongly negative on this point.

c. On the social costs aspect of social acceptability is general public opinion, and especially leadership opinion, holds that the costs of smoking far outweigh any benefits.

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Target Goal #1

Recommendations

1
. RJRT and T.I. must continue closely monitoring public and leadership opinions. Now that RJRT has decided to discontinue its Yankelovich subscription, T.I. should pick it up to preserve data series continuity. Letting it lapse now will cause us to fly blind into heavy weather and will also throw away a valuable measuring rod.

2. T.I. should have a plan for raising much more "commotions" on social acceptability issues. As used here, a "commotion" is something that a public affairs officer makes happen in order to publicly challenge erroneous conventional wisdoms about smoking, smokers or the tobacco industry. Commotions involve statements or presentations by public leaders or statements and presentations made by recognized experts who can get public leadership attention either through public forums or specialized leadership media. The best commotions are ultimately picked up by mass media (especially TV) who, in turn, make "news" out of it, thus extending the commotion into the mainstreams of public opinion formation. Like other public affairs activities, commotions can be reactive or proactive with the latter being generally superior to the former. Examples of public affairs commotions are such things as stimulated editorials or columns, public hearings, conferences, placements on op ed pages, producing and announcing special polls, and assisting articles to be published in scholarly journals. During 1979, a minimum of 12 major proactive commotions should be planned, budgeted, and executed by T.I. These commotions should be echoed in employee and "family" media. Precise target for the most effective commotions can be triangulated from data in SOSAS and opinion surveys.

3. The industry should continue looking hard at the research it is sponsoring to see if any of the primary health shadows can be removed or brightened. Talk about our research money being spent doesn't help all that much. Today's public opinion is very much oriented toward practical results -- such as a body of definitive studies that will cause the Surgeon General's report(s) to be challenged in open public forums.

4. Because the legal shrouds covering social acceptability efforts apparently cannot be circumvented, lifted, pierced or bleached out a little, new legal approaches to social acceptability issues should be initiated along the lines suggested by Charles Morgan. Current legal postures are not supportive of changes in either public or leadership opinion.

5. T.I. should have a systematic program for appropriately allying itself (or its member companies) with public groups that expouse the dangers of government encroachments in personal choices and lifestyles. The aim is to have these groups recognize smoking issues under their umbrellas.

6. T.I. and its member companies should continue their "family" and "heartland" programs stressing the social acceptance of smoking because of its economic contribution and its tobacco heritage. Those bases of regional public and leadership opinion must be preserved.

7. The industry should carefully audit and appraise its governmental relations activities to make certain that growing public and leadership opinions about its undue influence are never buttressed by disclosures of industry improprieties or illegal actions. The industry's lobbying and campaign effects should not be

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Target Goal #1

ballyhooed. Our aim is a clean iron fist inside a clean velvet glove.

Note: Additional recommendations also relating to aspects of Target Goal #1 appear in later sections of this report where they are more specifically related to other goals, such as reversing the tide of restrictive smoking legislation and regulation.

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SECTION II

Target Goal #2: Generating More Balanced Media Coverage of Smoking and Sociability Issues.

Public Affairs Opinion on This Goal

At RJR, strategy and tactics for achieving this goal are basically the province of public relations. At the T.I., Comm. Comm. has a combined mandate. As far as public affairs is concerned this combination of accountabilities dilutes both public affairs and public relations efforts. Our RJR system is far superior; so on this goal I defer to Ron and my comments include only a few key observations. They omit any summary findings and recommendations.

From a public affairs standpoint, media coverage, like public opinion, is important only to the extent that it influences public decision-making and the stands taken by public leaders.

Obviously, some media are more important to public affairs leaders and decision makers than others. Also public affairs likes to use media to create spokesmen on public issues and to generate public commotion. Thus, there must be clear understanding of these and other different ways that P.A. and P.R. approach media coverage.

Finally, I make an observation that T.I. certainly does not approach "heartland" and "family" media with the effectiveness that Ron does. I can't judge how well T.I. does overall. In any event, Ron's voice should be heard at the T.I. in an appropriate forum, which unfortunately is not Comm. Comm.

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SECTION III

Target Goal #3: Restoring First-Class Citizenship Status to Smokers

Public Affairs Overview on This Goal


To be a first-class citizen is to enjoy certain rights. During the past two decades, some of America's most powerful and effective public affairs campaigns have centered on efforts by minority groups to get the rights that they feel they are entitled to, and in the process become first-class citizens.

The tobacco industry notes that smokers are a minority and are also losing rights. The industry obviously doesn't like to see this happening to their customers. After perceiving the power of other "rights" groups, the industry would like to have smokers exert the same kind of "rights" power brought to bear on social acceptability issues. The analogy is indeed an appealing one on the surface.

Operationally, the main public affairs issues in Goal #2 are finding out if there is a "rights" basis for mobilizing smokers and, if so, seeing what vehicles can be used to express such rights; or, if not, what if anything needs,to be done before smokers can start feeling that they are being deprived of rights.

Key Findings Emerging During SOSAS

1. Smokers are increasingly aware they are in a minority and are being subjected to increasing restrictions.

2. Only a minority of "hard-core" smokers (25-33%) equate these restrictions with a loss of "rights", and an even smaller group of this minority of smokers are willing to make a protest and stand up firmly for their rights.

3. Thus, currently there is no demonstrable or practical basis for assuming that a smoker's rights organization can be expected to come forth and make any real difference or that smokers can be mobilized around a "citizenship" theme.

4. Further, it would be most unwise for the industry to use its money to create and subsidize a front group based on "rights" or "citizenship". One SOSAS consultant did feel that smokers groups could be organized on the basis of "good times," but the costs would be high relative to the benefits and the alternative program opportunities.

5. This conclusion has been empirically verified by the failure of at least two grassroots smokers rights groups to really get anywhere.

6. In summary, for the foreseeable future, it will be impossible to mobilize smokers solely on the basis that they are smokers. However, within the context of broader themes like stopping government interference and family" pride, it is possible to involve smokers.

7. Because most smokers will accept restrictions, the industry should emphasize that prohibition is the ultimate goal of restrictions. The specter of prohibition is needed to reinforce the connection between

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Target Goal #3

restrictions and loss of rights. "Prohibition" and "ban" are the rallying cries.

8. Any future efforts to have smokers assert their "rights" is heavily shadowed by the growing desire of smokers to stop smoking. In effect, many smokers want to lose their rights. They are not proud to be smokers and they want to quit or cut down. There's no way that public affairs can deal with this basic barrier given the legal constraints growing from the primary health issue.

9. Another barrier to future smokers "rights" and "citizenship" efforts arises from the fact that a large portion of smokers feel that their smoking injures the health of others. Most smokers seem to have accepted the notion that they need to be restricted and isolated in order to avoid the alleged harm that nonsmokers suffer from being near smokers.

10. Future attempts to mobilize smokers on a "rights" or "citizenship" basis will also suffer from the fact that the smoking minority in U.S. society is not certain what its rights are. By contrast, the small minority of anti-smoking zealots is very certain about their rights which include such items as a "smoke-free" environment and "breathing air undiluted by cigarette smoke."

11. Further, any practical public affairs programs based on "rights" or "citizenship" must ideally include "parallel" discussions of "responsibility." Here again smokers are not quite certain what their responsibilities are.

12. The softness of smoker opinion about their rights and their citizenship status is in part a reflection of the industry's failure to provide leadership in defining such critical terms as "smokers rights," "good smoker citizenship," and "smoker responsibilities." There may be good and compelling marketing reasons for not providing this leadership. However, until the industry can lead on questions of rights and citizenship, there is little reason to believe that smokers will follow.

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Target Goal #3

Recommendations:

1. The T.I. should lead in the development of information which shows that the so called smoking minority is indeed a majority of the "productive" population in the United States. The long-term goal here is to try and slow the growth of the notion that because the smoking minority is somehow a group of second-rate citizens who contribute little to society.

2. T.I. publications, as well as T.I. "commotions," should continue to link restrictions with prohibition and bans. The point must continually be made that the ultimate goal of anti-smokers is prohibition.

3. At this time there seems little point in the T.I. or the industry spending great efforts to rally smokers on the basis of their smoking. Instead, T.I. emphasis should be placed on mobilizing and rallying smokers under broader themes such as family pride and resistence (sic) to further government restrictions on personal choices and lifestyles.

4. Long term, the ability of smokers to be mobilized and stand up for their rights will depend on the industry (through T.I.) -- spelling out more precisely what are the benefits of being a smoker. Smokers must know what benefits there are to being smokers and have a more positive basis for asserting their rights.

5. Moreover, smokers must be convinced that their smoking does not hurt others before they can be fully mobilized. T.I. and the industry should make certain that smokers know the facts about public smoking.

6. A basic prerequisite for any work in mobilizing smokers will be the industry's agreeing on a smokers "bill of rights." This need not be a public document, but T.I. members should reach an industry consensus on just what are smokers rights.

7. Part and parcel of this same effort will be industry definitions of what are smokers responsibilities. In effect, this will be a definition of good smoker citizenship.

Note: These are topics which are echoed in the later section of this summary dealing with "stimulating constructive dialogue between the tobacco industry and nonsmokers."

8. In these activities, T.I. should pay careful attention to available data about the different degrees of acceptance that smokers have about the appropriateness of smoking in certain places and differences between their willingness to assert their "rights" in stadiums as opposed to elevators, for example.

9. Finally, in any efforts to define "rights" and "responsibilities," T.I. should pay very close attention to smoking in the workplace. There, the whole question of smoking restrictions and bans is most critical from a public affairs standpoint.

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SECTION IV

Target Goal #4: Reversing the Tide of Discriminatory Restrictive Smoking Legislation and Regulation

Public Affairs Overview of This Goal

Restrictive smoking legislation and regulations are only the end products of a much larger process. The passage of laws and regs is preceded by shifts in public and leadership opinions, commotions in the media, and persuasion tactics in decision-making arenas.

Thus far, the industry's attempts to combat anti-smoking measures have concentrated on the next-to-the-last step in the process. The industry's efforts are applied at the eleventh hour in the form of lobbying attempts directed at decision-makers. With its forces marshaled at the final decision-making spigots, the industry hasn't paid too much attention to preceding shifts in opinions. Putting it another way, the industry is long on tactics and short on strategy.

Tactically, the industry has had some notable successes in fighting back legislation and regulations. However, if present trends continue, it clearly doesn't have the manpower resources to fight every battle and every state house, city hall or courthouse, much less in the myriad arms of the bureaucracy. Moreover, even if the industry had the manpower, it's not certain that the money will always be available, particularly when the price of fighting has been escalated so much.

The recent experience in California has underscored the financial dimensions of the problem. It has also shown the need for the industry to have a capacity to reach out not only to legislatures, but also to the general public.

Further, in setting an overview on restrictive measures, the industry's tactical victories to date have occurred in fights about centering on public smoking. At the present time, the industry has had little experience in the fights about the social costs aspects of social acceptability that will likely emerge soon.

Operationally, the major public affairs issues in Target Goal #4 are related to those in Section 1. An overall strategy for legislation and regulation must involve changes in public and leadership opinion. The points made in Section I are not repeated here, but they should be kept in mind when reviewing the summary points made below which are essentially tactical.

Key Findings Emerging During SOSAS

1. The tide of restrictive legislation and regulations are strong and they are spreading throughout many levels of government in both legislative and bureaucratic channels.

2. The industry can expect these tides to continue growing and spreading in the future.

3. The number of anti-smoking activists who press for increasing laws and

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Target Goal #4

regulations seems to be a relatively small portion of the population. However, they have an uncommonly large capacity to stage "commotions" and to influence decision-makers.

4. The industry has now assembled an impressive set of tactical resources through the Jones committee hearing. These can be invaluable lobbying tools for continued work in decision-making arenas on public smoking measures.

5. The industry also has been able to use its "family" political base to deal with bureaucratic regulatory measures. For example, some of Califano's initiatives were defused by politicizing them.

6. Tactically, the industry has again found that using the rhetoric of prohibition is an effective tool in resisting anti-smoking measures.

7. The industry has also found that in public smoking fights, it has its strongest "non-family" allies in the restaurant business. The fact that most restaurants are "small businesses" is an added public affairs plus. Small businesses are the ones most highly regarded by most public decision-makers. This alliance is particularly valuable when the money, power and influence of the tobacco industry is subject to growing scrutiny by the general public and public leaders.

8. To date, the industry's experience in combating restrictive measures has mainly centered on the public smoking aspects of social acceptability. The industry is inexperienced and unprepared to deal with the fast-merging social costs issues. A spate of future legislative and regulatory pressures can be expected to grow from the "social costs" aspects of social acceptability.

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Target Goal #4

Recommendations:

In addition to Section I's strategic observations about shifting public and leadership opinion, the following additional steps are suggested:

1. T.I. should have a systematic program for spreading the important tactical materials developed through the Jones Committee Hearings. It is imperative that the use of these materials not be restricted solely to lobbying arenas. T.I. should schedule and carry out a series of presentations at national and regional conferences of state and local legislators and bureaucrats. The efforts should include presenting the Jones Committee materials to key staff levels as well as to office holders and public leaders.

2. T.I. should lead in developing programs to disseminate the Jones Committee materials to Tobacco Company publications and other "family" media.

3. Legal political activities should be stepped up to help preserve a Political base for dealing with anti-smoking measures. PACs must be an integral part of any industry program for dealing with restrictive legislation on the tactical level.

4. T.I. should inaugurate special outreach programs to the restaurant industry, including, but not limited to, presentation of the Jones Committee materials at meetings of restaurateurs and members of their respective "families."

5. The industry should make a major effort to develop both strategic and tactical materials on social costs issues. They are emerging as a core for future legislative and regulatory attempts to restrict smoking.

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SECTION V

Target Goal #5: Stimulating Constructive Dialogue Between the Tobacco Industry and Nonsmokers

Public Affairs Overview of This Goal

The tobacco industry serves a minority of the U.S. population. To keep a viable position, this minority of smokers has to enjoy at least the tacit support or tolerance of the majority. In turn, this means that the industry or smokers must maintain a capacity to talk to the non-majority about the place of smoking in society. In this respect, tobacco is not alone. Nowadays, many industries have found it necessary to talk to people other than their own customers. Furthermore, these needs for non-customer dialogue will likely grow in the U.S. as more and more industries and special interests try to carve out their positions in public arenas.

From a public affairs standpoint, the key issue in this goal is to assess both the platforms and channels for public issue dialogue between the industry and those who don't use its products.

Key Findings Emerging During SOSAS

I. Most nonsmokers are tolerant of smokers and their significant attitude differences between non-smokers (a majority) and anti-smokers (a minority).

2. Yet the public dialogues about smoking are very strident. As indicated, a small group of antismokers does most of the talking and makes most of the commotion.

3. Industry efforts to speak out on smoking issues are so shrouded by legal constraints that they are not effective, except when placed within a larger context or theme like "family pride."

4. The industry's credibility as a valid spokesman on public issues is not high and it is declining.

5. Thus, there is little evidence .that the tobacco industry, as such, can set up a successful dialogue on smoking issues with nonsmokers, except within the limited, but important, context of "family pride."

6. Therefore, the key axis for dialogue about smoking issues must be between smokers and nonsmokers.

7. One obvious difficulty of this approach is unwillingness or inability of smokers to speak up and talk about smoking.

8. However, research continues to reveal a desire for smokers and nonsmokers to get together on a dialogue of "courtesy." There are strong opinions that a little consideration will go a long way in ironing out apparent differences between smokers and nonsmokers.

9. Unfortunately, there are as yet no comprehensive definitions of courtesy or smoker etiquette in smoker-nonsmoker situations.

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Target Goal #5

Previous industry attempts to define and advertise courtesy have not been judged effective.

10. Also, some industry tactics, such as those used in the California referendum, have the practical effect-of polarizing smokers and nonsmokers. Thus, they work against "dialogue."

I

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Target Goal #5

Recommendations:

1. A basic strategic goal of the industry must be to keep the nonsmoking majority from becoming antismoking. The industry should avoid actions that antagonize non-smokers as opposed to anti-smokers. Majority opinion about many social acceptability issues is still up for grabs, and the industry can't be the one that shoots it down.

2. "Family pride" efforts by T.I. and tobacco companies should be continued and expanded during 1979. As of now, these efforts provide the one way that the industry has for getting into effective dialogue about smoking issues with at least some non-smokers.

3. All industry programs should recognize that smokers will provide the main vehicle for dialogue about smoking issues with non-smokers. Accordingly, a central concern of all T.I. efforts should be more effective ways for the industry to talk to smokers about the issues so that the smokers in turn can carry the dialogue to non-smokers.

4. T.I. should continue to explore the concept of courtesy which emerges so strongly from the research as the most likely basis for dialogue with non-smokers. Such research could be an integral part of the previously recommended efforts to develop a clear industry position on smoker rights, responsibilities and good citizenship.

5. If the industry is to preserve its potentials for smoker - non-smoker dialogues, such preservation must become a part of all T.I. tactical planning. This may require tailoring some tactical efforts in order to avoid polarizing smokers and non-smokers.

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SECTION VI

Target Goal #6: Increasing Public Understanding of the Tobacco Industry's Economic Contribution to Society

Public Affairs Overview of This Goal

Economic contribution arguments form the cornerstone of tobacco industry public affairs. Data about farm incomes, Jobs, taxes, balance of trade data, etc., form the catechism of industry's lobbyists.

Operationally, the key public affairs issue for this goal is to determine if the traditional lobbyists' arguments about the industry's economic contribution can be effectively transferred into other types of public affairs activities.

Key Findings During SOSAS

1. Economic arguments are still effective tools when dealing with leaders who represent tobacco constituencies.

2. Economic arguments are also very well received within the tobacco family and the tobacco heartland.

3. Economic arguments are not persuasive outside the family either among the general public or public leaders.

4. In part, the public and opinion leaders reject economic arguments because of their unwillingness to listen to any kind of "good news" about the tobacco industry or smoking. Preconceptions about smoking's harmfulness and social undesirability closes out any consideration of tobacco's economic case. A paraphrase of this closed mind position is "I don't care how much economic benefit is generated by the industry, smoking kills people and it shouldn't be tolerated."

4. Another group faults the industry's economic argument on the basis that is somewhat different, at least superficially. This group doesn't reject economic arguments out of hand. It will admit that smoking does have some benefits, but feels that the various costs of smoking outweigh the admitted benefits.

5. This points up the close ties between the industry's traditional economic arguments and emerging social costs issues. From now on, the industry should be more careful in using economic arguments. Such arguments shouldn't be of a type that can be turned back against the industry and they should not provide clear pathways along which point-by-point social costs attacks can be launched against smoking.

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Target Goal #6

Recommendations:

I. T.I. and tobacco companies should continue talking about their economic contribution within the family and the heartland, as well in lobbying.

2. The use of economic arguments in other public forums, including lobbying, should be carried out with increasing care, lest the industry's own data about benefits provide a framework for social costs attacks.

3. Specifically, T.I. should make certain that public treatment of its new economic significance study does not provide a blueprint for even more detailed social costs attacks against the industry. In the context of both lobbying and family relations, great harm would be done if T.I.'s own study is used as a framework for elaborate new social costs attacks. This would provide just the kind of commotion that anti-smoking forces have exploited so successfully in the past.

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SECTION VII

Target Goal #7: Establishing Truthful, Viable, and Compelling Positions for the Tobacco Community to use in Countering Those Who Attack Smoking As Being Harmful to Nonsmokers

Public Affairs Overview on This Goal

The advertising component of SOSAS focused most heavily on the public smoking issue,that is,the alleged harm of smoking to nonsmokers. The issue seems clear to the industry. Laws and restrictions are being enacted to protect nonsmokers from alleged health hazards that do not exist. However, in public affairs, the facts seldom speak for themselves, and this is certainly the case with the public smoking issue.

By far, the largest portion of SOSAS expenditures on this goal were made by the advertising component to develop and test copy aimed at general public audiences and selected business audiences. Thus, much of the SOSAS work on this goal was outside the central concerns of the public affairs effort.

From a public affairs standpoint, the key issue in this goal was to see if there were any kind of new "packages" of public smoking facts that could be developed for use with decision-makers, leaving questions of addressing general public opinion to the advertising effort.

Key Findings Emerging During SOSAS

1. There is a downward trend in the number of members of Congress and federal agency leaders who believe that "nonsmokers who sit near people who are smoking are being subjected to a significant health hazard." This is a positive development for the industry and seems to indicate that the industry's message about public smoking is getting through in Washington. Among state and local government leaders, however, there was a growth in the percentage of those who held to the erroneous belief on this point.

2. This clearly places a priority on actions to place the facts before local and state decision-makers.

3. General public opinion continues to increasingly believe that "when someone smokes near you, it's bad for your health." There have been very large percentage increases in the proportion of both smokers and nonsmokers who hold this erroneous belief.

4. The fact that general public opinion is trending so unfavorably makes the poor results of the ad testing all the more regrettable. Public affairs lobbying efforts with decision-makers must go forward with no help from an advertising effort starting, slowing or reversing the public opinion shifts.

5. When public smoking issues are lobbied with state and local decision-makers, the industry's position seems to be most compelling and useful when it is packaged under an official Congressional imprimatur. That, of course, is what the Jones Committee hearings produced.

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Target Goal #7

6. At the state and local levels, the decision-makers also apparently respond to testimony and presentation that first show the truth about public smoking and then proceed to characterize restrictive smoking efforts as merely attempts to justify further government intrusion into personal freedoms.

7. There is strong evidence that public concerns about the health of nonsmokers is perhaps being used as a respectable "mask" or "cover" for deeper feelings of irritation and hostility towards smokers and smoking. If this is borne out by further research, then it may turn out that even the most truthful industry position on public smoking may not be a compelling one because it does not deal with what's really bothering nonsmokers.

8. In any event, research has proved conclusively that the industry should not waste any time trying to "convert" anti-smokers. The "family", smokers, and nonsmokers must be the focus of industry programs.

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Target Goal #7

Recommendations

Note: Conclusions about the advertising efforts which form the central focus of this goal appear in other SOSAS report documents. The points below reflect strictly a public affairs perspective.

I . T.I. should have an overall plan to ensure that the Jones Committee hearings are properly disseminated and used at the state and local level by industry and company lobbyists.

2. T.I. should make certain that the results of the Jones Committee hearings are presented to key "heartland" congressmen and their staffs at a series of special briefings.

3. T.I. and the companies should make certain that family publications fully report the results of the Jones hearings.

4. T.I. should commission additional research to probe at possibly deeper underlying anti-smoking attitudes -- ones that perhaps are being masked by supposedly more respectable expressions of concern for the health of nonsmokers. In factual terms, the nonsmoker issue is not an issue. Yet it persists. The objective of the deeper probes would be clearer definitions of latent anti smoking attitudes among non smokers. An overriding strategy is preventing nonsmokers from becoming anti-smokers. If there is a potentially much larger, but currently latent anti-smoking group, the present public smoking positions of the industry could ultimately be in great jeopardy.

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SECTION VIII

Target Goal #8: Voicing the Tobacco Community's Concerns for the Public Interest

Public Affairs Overview of This Goal

Today, any industry's public affairs franchise is linked to public perceptions about how well that industry serves the public interest, while at the same time serving its traditional profit-making interest. To enjoy public and governmental support, any industry must be able to pass certain public interest tests. Currently, it is especially important that an industry (and the companies within it) be perceived as being "socially responsible." Definitions of corporate social responsibility are broad and malleable. Yet, at any given point, there is a fairly good consensus about what constitutes a corporation's acting in the public interest and being socially responsible.

Today, more than ever, the tobacco industry needs all the public and governmental support it can get. Thus, it must be vitally concerned with voicing its public interest concerns and making certain that its voice is heard.

From a public affairs standpoint, the key issues in this goal are seeing how the industry's public interest concerns are being perceived and seeing if the perceptions can be optimized.

Key Findings Emerging During SOSAS

1. For the tobacco industry, there has been no letup in continually negative views about its concern for the public interest. Both general public and leadership opinions put tobacco at the bottom of the list of industries who have been socially responsible by properly balancing profit motives with concern for the public interest.

2. This continued drop in perceptions of the tobacco industry's concern for public interests stands in contrast to the more favorable opinion trends that are beginning to develop for business in general. Overall general public and leadership opinion is beginning to show a slightly increasing regard for the role of business in U.S. society.

3. Thus the tobacco industry is divided from a basically favorable current in public and leadership opinion.

Traditionally, the industry has never had any real friends elsewhere in U.S. business. Certainly, it couldn't get help from them, but on the other hand, it couldn't get hurt by them too much. Now, with the emergence of social costs issues, it is important for the industry's voice to be heard in councils of key business associations and groups.

4. Perceptions of-the industry's public interest concerns and social responsibility probably can't be improved substantially as long as the industry's public positions are so heavily shrouded by legal constraints. The same constraints that took the spark out of the test ad copy will also be at work on most other expressions of the industry's concern and position on public issues.

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Target Goal #8

5. Still there should be some exploration of possibilities for lighting a few candles to relieve the overall darkness in perceptions of the industry's contributions to society.

6. Also the industry needs to put out much stronger signals to the "family" about social concern and particularly its contributions to social welfare. From a public affairs standpoint, it is essential that the economic messages sent to the family be supplemented with social concern information.

7. While there is little hope of getting much public admiration of the industry's social responsiveness, it should be possible for individual leaders from within the industry to get public recognition for personal commitments and service to social concerns. In other words, if the industry can't generate institutionalized perceptions of social responsibility, it should at least generate personalized ones.

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Target Goal #8

Recommendations:

1. Tobacco companies can publicly demonstrate some degree of social concern by joining with other businesses in associations that deal with public policy questions. Such associations would also provide forums for discussing social costs issues--topics that will be of increasing concern to most U.S. business, not just the tobacco industry.

2. During 1979, the T.I. should systematically explore a pilot public service program in some logical area of public concern such as fire prevention education. This pilot effort should also involve an alliance with a public interest group.

3. T.I. and company programs should be launched to tell, at least, the family about industry concerns for social welfare and community service. At RJR, corporate contributions and our innovative employee medical program in Winston-Salem are two examples of company activities that are not being utilized to their full public affairs potential.

4. Company executives should be strongly encouraged to take public leadership roles in groups that are specifically concerned with various facets of the public interest. At RJR, this has been a local tradition. It should be continued at the local level, but also expanded to "heartland" and national levels as well.

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SECTION IX

Target Goal #9: Mobilizing the Tobacco Community to Speak and Reach Out Effectively to Support (and Be Supported By) Other Public Groups, Including Public Interest Organizations As Well As Official Bodies of Government

Public Affairs Opinion on This Goal

This goal was placed on the listing of SOSAS targets because it could not hope to move forward unless some previous goals are attained. For example, speaking out by the tobacco community requires themes and scripts for a continuing dialogue. Likewise, reaching out requires an industry public interest platform.

As preceding sections have shown, the tobacco community has only a minimal basis for public dialogue beyond the heartland. Also it has been shown that the tobacco community is not perceived as having any real public interest platform. Additionally, it has been shown that smokers and the tobacco industry are perceived as being increasingly isolated from mainstreams of American lifestyles and aspirations.

As critical shortcomings began to emerge, it became clear that the original scope of Target Goal #9 could not be attained. Moreover, the "softness" of smoker attitudes caused apprehension about the strength of family attitudes. This was a critical concern. Even if the family cannot reach out to public groups, it has always been assumed that they could be ready and willing to speak up on behalf of industry positions.

Thus, it became imperative to assess the potential of the family as the key industry action group for grassroots public affairs actions on social acceptability issues.

From a public affairs standpoint, the key tasks in this goal turned out to be measuring the strength of social acceptability attitudes in the family and determining how they can be most effectively mobilized.

It was decided to conduct the research on these issues in Winston-Salem which should be the "heart" of the "heartland." The study sample consisted of a sizable number of employees or their spouses from all RJR companies in Winston-Salem.

Key Findings Emerging During SOSAS

1. As hoped, the family in the tobacco heartland showed very strong positive attitudes toward social acceptability issues.

2. There were significant differences in the strength of attitudes between different RJR companies and between older and younger employees.

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Target Goal #9

3. Overall, smoking emerged as an accepted part of the family's lifestyle. Whenever there were ambiguities in attitudes, the family usually resolved them by coming down on the same side as the industry's preferred position.

4. The family displayed great pride in the tobacco industry, and especially in RJR. During the interviews, a surprising number of volunteer comments were made about Philip Morris' up-and-coming pacesetter image.

5. The interviewing took place during the Pride in Tobacco campaign, and it was received very positively by the family.

6. Although very positive attitudes emerged from the research, the "family" was surprisingly inert in terms of their initial willingness to stand up and speak out for smokers' rights.

7. On the surface, at least, the family was not all that much more willing to mobilize against smoking restrictions than were interviewees in other parts of the U.S.

8. When this surface anomaly was probed deeper, it turned out that the family simply had not been made aware of the explicit threats being posed to RJR, their industry, their rights, and their lifestyle in Winston-Salem. Of course, they knew that smoking was under attack, but they didn't make strong connections between these attacks and day-to-day "family" life in the heartland. There seemed to be surprisingly little "gut" feeling about the immediacy of social acceptability threats to smoking.

9. In the research situation, the "family" became activitist when the realities of the threats were made apparent. In other words, when they realized what was at stake, they expressed a willingness to mobilize and stand up for the industry.

10. To some degree, it just may be that strong "family" pride in RJR prevents the "family" from recognizing that their lives with RJR could ever be genuinely threatened. That is to say, RJR is too good, too strong, too smart to get hurt by a small group of antismoking zealots.

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Target Goal #9

Recommendations:

In addition to earlier recommendations regarding actions of the "family", the following additional steps seem imperative in the light of the research carried out with the RJR immediate family.

1. The highest priority in RJRT public affairs programming for 1979 must be the start-up of across-the-board efforts aimed at fully educating employees on social acceptability issues. These efforts would be continuous ones extending throughout the foreseeable future and they must involve a mix of the best communications talents available.

2. Specific guidelines for these employee education programs should be derived from details of the SOSAS research. A variety of approaches and emphases will be necessary to bring the full RJR family cadre up to snuff.

3. After the programs of education are underway, related programs to mobilize RJR's immediate family should be initiated. Again, the research discusses a number of possible actions and further insights can be gained from Philip Morris' experiences in employee mobilization.

4. The Pride in Tobacco program has registered such high marks in the immediate family that ways should be developed to involve RJR employees more deeply in future Pride efforts.

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5. RJR should take the lead in urging T.I. to have all its member companies undertake programs similar to those at RJR and Philip Morris.

6. Efforts to rally RJR's immediate family should have at least an equal priority with efforts to set up the RJR component of the Tobacco Institute's TAN network in various states across the country.

7. At no time should RJR lose sight of the fact that the immediate family must always be the best-informed, best-equipped and most effectively mobilized grassroots group anywhere in the industry. To use a political analogy, the immediate family is our home precinct. If we can't carry it, then we can't ever expect to carry outlying family precincts, much less precincts outside the family.

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THANKS to Anne Landman for discovering this series of SOSAS documents.
This document's URL is: http://www.tobacco.org/Documents/781222rjrsosas.html


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