Project 16

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Project 16 was an Imperial Tobacco project circa 1977 to study youth smoking. It was the predecessor to "Project Plus/Minus." A report on the study was authored by Kwechansky Marketing and describes the ages of the subjects in this study:

The recruiting qualifications were that the respondents be aged 16 or 17, attending high school, and smokers of 5 cigarettes or more per day...Recruiting was carried out in such a manner that the respondents had no idea the subject was to be smoking.

Interviews with the youngsters took place in hotels in Toronto and Peterborough, Canada. The marketing company recorded the youngsters answers on closed-circuit cameras that were "trained at them at close range," and which, according to the report, was thought to have made them nervous. The report makes no mention of having obtained parental consent for the interviews.

The report goes into great detail about the ages at which these young people started smoking (typically between the ages of 12 and 13), what got them started smoking, how smoking fit into their school and family lives, their attitudes toward quitting, and much more. It concludes that "In smoking among the young, all roads lead to peer influence," and

...At the early stages of serious smoking, coincident with puberty around the age of 12 or 13, there is sometimes taunting and goading of those who aspire to membership in a peer circle that smokes...Submission to such pressure shows how strong the peer group conformity desire is, and how it can override all previously learned values...

The study also found that more than half the youngsters interviewed regretted that they had started smoking and wanted to quit. The author offhandedly adds the comment, "However, they cannot quit any easier than adults can...It is likely that few will."

In one passage, the interviewers mention the health warnings on cigarettes to the youngsters, and report that "In spite of believing (for the most part) that the health warnings are true, it is amazing how fatalistic these young people were about smoking and health...A few clearly did not wish to live to a ripe old age....The cases of those who actually claim not to want a long life are fascinating..."

After showing the young interviewees some ads and asking which ones appealed to them and which did not, the paper states:

...Ads for teenagers must be denoted by a lack of artificiality, and a sense of honesty...If freedom from pressure and authority can also be communicated, so much the better.


COMPANY: Imperial Tobacco Limited
Type: Study
Author: Kwechansky Marketing Research, Inc.
Recipient: Imperial Tobacco, Limited (Canada)
Region: Canada
Litigation: Minnesota selected document
Document date: 19771018

<tdo>search_term=Project 16</tdo> Also search the British American Tobacco Documents Archive for Project 16