John Player Special King Size
Japanese Qualitative Study
Cigarette smoking behavior:
Amount of smoking and regular brand
The majority of male respondents tended to smoke more than 30 cigarettes a day and those who smoked less than 20 seemed to be in the minority. On the other hand, women respondents appeared to consume between 10 and 20 cigarettes a day. Younger women seemed to smoke less than older women.
The majority of the respondents smoked Mild Seven as their regular brand, irrespective of age and sex. Seven Stars, Hi-Lite, Cabin, and (Short) Hope followed (Note: Mild Seven, Seven Stars and Cabin have charcoal-filter. Cabin has a triple-structure filter like Lark/Lark Milds).
Harm from smoking and shift to mild brands
With regard to the harm from Smoking, the respondents appeared to have a more or less concern regardless of age and sex. Actually, some of them tried to quit smoking at one time or another. As was revealed by several respondents, inconveniences stemming from non-smoking, such as gaining weight, getting nervous, etc., seemed to outweigh the fear for cancer since the danger was not immediate.
Thus, the perception of a threat to health which prevailed among smokers appeared to affect them so that they desired:
(1) To decrease the amount of smoking:
Many respondents appeared to desire to limit the amount to less than 20 a day. However, there seemed to be so many occasions when they reached for cigarettes, such as "meetings", "drinking" "Mahjong (Note: Mahjong ?ˆ” a Chinese-oriented betting game popular among the Japanese, though getting less popular among the younger generation)", etc.
2) To select milder (lower in tar/nicotine) cigarettes:
Actually, many respondents, especially those who have been smoking for more than ten years, mentioned that they changed brands to milder ones from heavier brands. Typical example was shifting brands as follows:
Peace ?ˆ” > Hi-Lite ?ˆ” > Seven Stars ?ˆ” > Mild Seven
As can be guessed from the preceding paragraphs, the general tendency seemed to be that the consumers selected "mild" cigarettes rather than "good-tasting" ones. In the case of women, "image" and "fashion" seemed to be added to their consideration. Thus, some female smokers tended to select the brands that were milder.
Although mild cigarettes prevailed among smokers, the degree of involvement with regard to charcoal filter did not seem to be very high. For example, no respondent seemed to select a given brand of cigarette because it had a charcoal filter.
This, however, does not mean that they had little awareness of a charcoal filter. On the contrary, it appeared that the charcoal filter did not become a subject of the discussion because most mild brands, especially the ones that were more frequently consumed, had a charcoal filter and it seemed to be as a matter of course for a mild cigarette to have a charcoal filter. In other words, having a charcoal filter was no longer a factor to distinguish one brand from others.
Actually, some respondents seemed to be aware of the difference of charcoal-filtered products from others. They mentioned that it helped" remove harshness and probably some harmful elements from cigarettes. On the other hand, those who disliked charcoal filters tended to perceive that a charcoal filter added a kind of peculiar "smell" to the cigarette.