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Anne Landman's Collection

1600 - SMOKER PSYCHOLOGY SMOKING AND SOCIOECONMIC STATUS

Date: Jun 1973
Length: 21 pages
1000048861-1000048881
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Abstract

This confidential Philip Morris internal report on "smoker psychology" explores the relationship between socioeconomic status and smoking. It finds that:

"Lower class panelists smoke more and are much more likely to be smokers than upper class panelists..."

It also found that lower class people tend to smoke nonfiltered cigarettes (tend to "avoid health filters") and that they also tend to avoid 100 millimeter-length brands.

The writers also observe that lower class people have more incidence of poor mental health, hypothesizing that people use smoking as a "strategy" to combat the stress of low class status as well as poor mental health:

"...the incidence of poor mental health is greatest among the lower class...To the extent that smoking is one of the available strategies people can adopt to combat stress, we therefore would expect greater incidence of smoking among the lower social classes."

The study also finds a correlation between lower class and poor physical health, but avoids directly confronting the possibility that smoking could account for this, preferring to attribute poor physical health status to simply to BEING a member of the lower class:

"...because the incidence of smoking differs between the social classes, we would find our research literature filled with obervations suggesting that smoking is related to poor health. The literature does show this, and it may be wrong...At least part of the reported statistical relationships between health variables and incidence of smoking can probably be accounted for in this fashion. The smoking and health relationships may be at least in part due to social class differences rather than to smoking per se."

Despite Philip Morris' internal findings of higher smoking rates among lower socioeconimic classes, as well as its findings that this group also has a higher incidence of both poor mental and physical health, it continued to promote its deadly and addictive products heavily among these groups. One must question whether this violates state charters for incorporation, which generally require that a corporation does not harm the population.

Here is what Colorado's state constitution says about revoking corporate charters:

"Section 3. Power to revoke, alter or annul charter. The general assembly shall have the power to alter, revoke or annul any charter of incorporation now existing and revocable at the adoption of this constitution, or any that may hereafter be created, whenever in their opinion it may be injurious to the citizens of the state, in such manner, however, that no injustice shall be done to the corporators."

Would it be just or unjust to Philip Morris to revoke its corporate charter if it was shown to have knowingly degraded the health of Colorado's least well-off citizens to achieve higher profits?

Fields

Quotes

A survey of the socioeconomic status of...panelists reveals that

1) Lower class panelists smoke more and are much more likely to be smokers than upper class panelists...

...Social class influences cigarette type very little except for lower class tendencies to smoke nonfilters and avoid health filters and 100 mm brands.

...Social class of respondents cannot be ignored in studying smoking behavior.

...Kinsey reports have shown that the sexual standards and behaviors of the classes differ; even casual observation shows that the classes have different likelihood of attending specific protestant churches (the funamentalist churches appeal of the lower classes, and the Methodist and Episcopal to the upper classes); many consumer studies reveal differences among classes in preference for private brands vs. tradenames, for type of retail stores frequented, and for concern with the appearance of their homes...

...A few recent studies have suggested that (as a consequence?) there are personality test score difference between the social classes, so that lower classes appear more anxious than upper classes. As a corollary to this observation, we note that still other investigatons report that the incidence of poor mental health is greatest among the lower class...To the extent that smoking is one of the available strategies people can adopt to combat stress, we therefore would expect greater incidence of smoking among the lower social classes.

...The naive experimenter who ignores social class and measures only intelligence test scores of...[smokers and nonsmokers] will therefore conclude "that smokers have lower intelligence test scores than nonsmokers." This is true, but it is a nonsense statement. It implies that smoking is somehow related to intelligence test score. Within each social class however each smoker has exactly the same score as each nonsmoker. What the naive researcher is seeing is the confounding effects of different social class intelligence socres and different proportions of smokers...

As a second hypothetical example, suppose that some index of poor health is related to social class in such a way that the well-paid, well-educated white collar workers enjoy better health than poorly paid, poorly educated laborers. Then, because the incidence of smoking differs between the social classes, we would find our research literature filled with obervations suggesting that smoking is related to poor health. The literature does show this, and it may be wrong.

At least part of the reported statistical relationships between health variables and incidence of smoking can probably be accounted for in this fashion.

The smoking and health relationships may be at least in part due to social class differences rather than to smoking per se.

It must be cautioned that this observation does not mean smoking is independent of health problems...

Company
Philip Morris Cos., Inc.
Author
Johnson, M.E. (Philip Morris)
Ryan, F.J. (Philip Morris)
Recipient
Fagan. R
Fountaine, S
Graham, R
Osdene, T
Resnick, F
Seligman, R
Thomson, R
Udow, A
Wakeham, H
Litigation
United States
Type
Report- Scientific
Subject
Health effects
Mental health
Smoker psychology

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Page 1: nzi81a00
1 Accession No. 73-080 1 1 1 1 Copy No. 7 Issued To a PHILI. P MORRIS U,S,A, R E S E A R C H C E N T E R CHARGE NO~, & TITLE: 1600 - Smoker Psychology . TYPE REPORT: OANNUAL OSEMIANNUAL © COMPLETION ®SPECIAL za 7 DATE: June, 1973 PERIOD COVERED: 1 I ~ ~ I I I I I I I REPORT TITLE: S. Fountaine R. Seligman A. Udow H. Wakeham CONFIDENiIAL SMOKING AND SOCIOECQNOMIC STATUS F. Resnik. T. Osdene R. G raham R. Thomson R. Fagan F. Daylor L. Meyer J. Osmalov T. Schori B. Hancock KEYWORDS: Socioeconomic Status, Smoking and Health, POL Panels, Status Consistency I
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1 1 1 1 1 ~ 7 i 1 , I I I I I I I j SUMMARY A survey of the socioeconomic status of POL panelists reveals that (11) Lower class panelists smoke more and are much more likely to be smokers than upper class panelists, (2) Status inconsistent panelists (whose income or education are inappropriate for their occupation) smoke more and are more likely to smoke than are panelists with consistent incomes, education and occupations, (3) Social class influences cigarette type smoked very little, except for lower class tendencies to smoke nonfilters and avoid health filters and 100 mm brands. The disproportionate distributfon of smokers among the social classes may well account for some of the reported, differences in psychological characteristics between smokers and nonsmokers (e.g. lower acadlemi'c achievement and intelligence test scores of smokers). Further, the distributiomcan even mask situations in which smokers do better than nonsmokers so that smokers will appear worse than nonsmokers. Social class of respondents cannot be ignored in studying smoking behavior. j
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2 I 1 1 1 ~ 7 1 1 . I I I I I I I I I Social status* is a recognized determinant of behavior among societies which are obviously divided into sociali classes. That such status differences exist in the USA is well known, but is usually ignored by psychologists. There ap~pears to: be some egalitarian wishful thinking among social scientists regarding the effects of social' cl'ass on behavior. They would like all people to be equali, so they treat their behavior as if it were unrelated to demographic characteristics, while knowing that it is not. For example, gender is the only demographic variable taken into account by most psychologists. As a conse- quence there has been a taboo built up among psychological researchers, so that they tend to ignore the potential effects of social status on their research. Yet many of these same researchers will, in explai'ning behavior, suggest that environ- mental conditions, social reinforcers, and a general history of conditioning to make specific responses in the presence of specifi'.c cues are the contributary factors in producing many of the differences between people which we see every day. "Each man is different," they glibly assert to colIege classes, "because each has a different reinforcement history." Bu~t rei'nforcement histories are not necessarily unique for each individual. There are many stmilarities as well as differences, and the similarities are often common within a given social class yet different from class to class. *"Social Status" is a measure of prestige. When we block people of high prestige in the community into a class or group, the ~ group is described as a high social' class, and a group: of low 0 prestige people is described as a low social class. The terms ~ "'social status" and "prestige" can be used interchangeably. p O ~ ~ w I
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1 1;; I I I I I I I .1 I I j 3 For example,-amomg these similarities and differences are such conditionis as: (1) Each social class has a d1lfferent probability of consistently rewarding, punishing, or ignori'ing the behaviors of its children and adult members, and (2) Each social class has a different set of mores to be punished or rewarded, a set which differs in part from the mores olf the other classes. To be more specific, the Kinsey reports have shown that the sexual standards and behaviors of the classes d1i'ffer; even casual observation shows that the classes have different like- lihood of attending specific protestant churches (the funda- mental.ist churches appeal to the lower classes, and the Methodist and Episcopal to the upper classes); many consumer studies reveal differences among classes in preference for private brands vs. tradenames, for types of retail stores frequented, and for concern with the appearance of their homes; child development studies show the lower class is more apt to spank its children, the middle class more apt to fol!low currently popular child training techniques; etc. A few recent studies have suggested that (as a consequence?) there are personality test score differences between t;he social classes, so that lower classes appear more anxious thaniupper classes. As a corollary to this obs-ervation, we note that still other investigations report that the incidence of poor mental health is greatest.among the lower class. Both observations suggest that members of th,e lower classes are ulnder greater personal stress than are people in other classes. To the extent that smoking is one of the avail!able strateqies people can adopt $- to combat stress, we therefore would expect greater incidence of ~ O smoking among the lower social classes. O ~ I
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4 I ~ 1 I 1 1 1 I I i I J Thi's is not a particul'arly daring hypothesis, for others have already reported the greater inci'dence of smoking among the British lower economic classes, and we have noted it before in our study of Greenfield, Iowa. To a considerable degree it is therefore ex post facto theorizing. In addition to expecting general effects of social class on smoking, we also expect that we can classify some life situations, as described by measures of social class, as more stressful than others. Thus, for example, we feel', that a sales engineer with a college degree and a 1968 income of over $15,000 lives a different life than does a man in the same occupationn who lacks either this educational background or this income level. The fi'rst man has income, occupation, and education consistent with high prestige in the community. We call him status consistent. By contrast, the second man is status inconsistent, for either his income or education or both are inappropriate to his job. We suggest that status inconsistency places a man under extra life stresses, and that therefore there should be a higher proportion of smokers among the status inconsistent than among the status consistent. 1 Ratings of Social Class In Warner's study of social relationships in a Connecticut community, "Yankee City," interviewers found most adults able to rate their fellow townsmen on social status with great inter- judge reliabi.lity, using criteria of: occupation, kind and amount of income, moral standing, geneology, social relationships and' organizations and kind of residential area in which the person lived. Given information of this kind, peoplie to classes and examine the incidence of in the classes. we can assign smoking behavi,or I
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I 5 1 I 1 I I I I I I I I The Present Study We lacked some of the social information, but did know the occupations, approximate income, and educational back- ground of most of the panelists on the 1968 and 1972 POL National Roster (see Table 1) so we examined these files for possible social class effects on smoking, using the Census Bureau procedures to guide us in defining socioeconomic status and status consistency. The Bureau assigns a number to each education and income level in the population based on the cumulative percentage of the population which had attained that income and education level. It then averages these numbers for each occupation on its list and raniks the occupations according, to this average. Using the number of people in each occupation, it then assigns a number corresponding to the cumulative percentage of people inithe rank ordered occupations to the occupations themselves. Therefore, for any individual of known education, occupation, and income, three numbers can be assigned. With numbers assigned to each measure, the Census Bureau defines status inconsistency in terms of differences between these numbers whi,ch exceed a certain size. There are twelve types of inconststency possible, six in which two components are con- sistent and' one is high or low, and six in whi'ch,all three components are inconsistent, with one being high, one inter- mediate and one low. Our procedure was somewhat simi'lar. We assigned the Census Bureau's occupation score to each panelist of known occupati'on, and assigned an education and income number to each panelist according to the information on his panel appl i'cati'on form. Then we made separate subtables for each educationiclass showing the number of people with each occupation score for each of seven income classes. 1
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1 6 TABLE 1 I I 1 ~ 1 1 1 ~ I I (Information available on the POL Panel for three measures) Famfily Occupation Education Income Professional, Technical College Graduate (High) Manager, Official, Prop. Attended College (Med. High) Clerical and Sales High School Graduate (Med.) Foreman, Craftsman Some High School (Med. Low) Operative, Unskilled, Laborer Grade School or Less (Low) <3 ,-000 I J I
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7 I I 1 1 I 3 I I I 1 .1 An economist then examined the education, income, and occupation listings and then assigned each set of scores to a status consistent or status inconsistent group according to his knowledge of demograpihiilcs. Although assignment to groups was somewhat arbitrary, the decilsions were made on logical grounds. To illustrate, among the college trained, all who were unskillled laborers with low incomes were clas- sified as status inconsistent with education too high for their occupation and income. Some of the college trained reported blue collar occupations but high incomes, these were classified as status inconsistent with occupation being low. Similar, equally defensible cliassilfications were made for all panelists without knowledige of their smoking habits. Classi- fication of smokers and nonsmokers had' been made by panelists themselves on the original questionnaires. Although this procedure for determining status consistency is less precise than that of the Census Bureau, it is unprej- udiced and unbiasediwith respect to smoking behavior. RESULTS Among the 8,605 men aged 25-59 on our 1968 panel we identified'5,2'69 as status consistent (61.3q) and 3,336 as status inconsistent (38.7%). Among the status consistent men there were 2,860 smokers (541.3q).* This average figure ~ O is somewhat mislead'ing, for there is a strong,occupational © class effect (see Table 2), the proportion of smokers being p ~ l greater among working class occupations. ` ~ Gb 1 * ' I I 57.7% of the panel were smokers. Compare 1970 WEW estimates of 47.8% smokers in the general population of men aged 26-64. At the Research Center our SEF files indicate that 48.7% of our personnel are smokers (men and women, all ages) a figure which is probably an overestimate, nonsmokers being less likely to return our local questionnaires. ~ I
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1 8 TABLE 2 Percentage of Smokers and Average Number of Cigarettes per"Da yamong'Status Consistent M'aIe Members of the Fiye,Occupation Classes % Panel Avg. Number % Cigarettes N Smokers Per Day 1 29.2 Professional,-Technical -1537 43.4 25.4 15,3 Manager, Official, Prop. 806 51.0 25.0 18.0 Clerical and Sales 949 56.9 26.2 1 21.6 Foremen, Craftsmen 1140 58.2 25.7 15.9 Operatives, Unskilled I Laborers 837 69.1 26.2 Total ~ 5269 54.3 1 I 3 I I I I I I I j There appear to be no systematic differences in consumption among,the classes, suggesting that the probability of a man becoming an active smoker depends omhis socioeconomic class, but that once he becomes a smoker his consumption pattern is not affected by his occupation. (This latter statement is a tenuous one, for we have our doubts about the measure, reported daily consumption, which is not a very accurate estimate accord- ing to our SEX-i study.) Among the status consiIstent smokers there were some product use differences (Table 3). The 70 mm nom-filter brands were smoked by 1/4 of the lower class smokers and by only 1/16 of the upper class smokers. Almost the reverse relationship held true for the so called "health filter," here defined as nonmenthol filter cigarettes with delivery under 16 mg FTC tar. About 21% I
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9' 1 I 1 1 ~ 1 1 I of the upper class and 8% of the lower class smoked "health filter" cigarettes. The frequency of use of other types of product (including 85 mm menthol) was not markedly different from class to class, with the possible exception of lower class low usage of regular 100 mm brands. TABLE 3 Percentage of Status Consistent Smokers wi thii n the- Ffive"CTasses'Cdho Smoke Di fferent Product Types 85 5 mm 70 mm 85 mm 100 mm 85 mm "Health Nonfilter -Reg.. Filter Reg. Filter Menthol Filter" Professional, Technical 6.7 31.0 7.9 16.3 21.1 ~ nager, Official, Prop. 11.4 32..4 10.9 13.6 16.5 ~ Clerical & Sales 11.1 30.7 8.5 17.2 16.3 Foremen, Craftsmen 12.7 32.2 7.1 17.3 11.3 ~ Operatives, Unsi'lled 25.4 29.6 4.7 15.6 7.6 I I I I I I J All 13.4 31.2 7.6 16.2 14.5 Status Inconsistent Among the 3,336 status inconsistent panelists there were 2,106 smokers (63.1%), a higher percentage thanithe 54.3% among, the 2,409 status consistent smokers. Among the 12 status incon- sistent groups there were some subgroups with so few members that it made sense to combine the subgroups to get more meaningful data. Accordingly we have combined and recombined groups as shown in Table 4. It should be noted that some smokers appear twice in this table. For example, there were 11 smokers who had Hiigh Education, Moderate Occupations, and Low Income - they appear twice in the table, once as members of the High Education group, once as members of the Low Income group. j

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