An increased focus on health issues in Denmark has led a high number of Danes to cut down on smoking either entirely or at least significantly. While the number of smokers who smoke on a daily basis is in decline, the number of occasional smokers is steadily increasing. At the same time smoking and smokers have become stigmatized as a result of intensified health promotion initiatives. While smoking is proven harmful whether you smoke 20 cigarettes a day or two per week, the number of occasional smokers is still increasing regardless of a common awareness of the hazardous effects of smoking. Furthermore, occasional smokers limit smoking to specific situations and claim not to be addicted to nicotine indicating a different cause behind smoking than a mere physical addiction. Together these observations form the basis and point of departure for the problem statement. The objective of this thesis is to investigate what motivates some consumers to smoke occasionally from a Consumer Behavior point of view. The study conducted to examine the reasons behind occasional smoking is based on empirical findings. These findings were gathered through eight in-depth interviews with Danish consumers who define themselves as occasional smokers. These were analyzed to gain insight into occasional smoking as a social and cultural phenomenon. Due to the explorative nature of the thesis and the fact that the topic has not yet been explored in a Danish research context the theoretical framework draws on both theories within the field of consumptions studies and sociology. Furthermore the theoretical frame of reference is based on main themes of the thesis, which also serve to structure the analysis. The main themes identified are: Identity Construction, Societal Context, Social Relations and the Symbolic Meaning of the Cigarette. The result of the qualitative research indicates that the reasons behind occasional smoking can be divided into three main themes representing the benefits of smoking which are 1: the social benefit, 2: The emotional benefit 3: the relational benefit.Furthermore the study concluded that the informants’ cigarette consumption is closely linked to the construction of identity. The consumption of cigarettes symbolizes a spectrum of different identities each determined by different motivational factors, which are also tied to the benefits. This allows the occasional smoker to construct various possible identities linked to their smoking habits, which are inhabited according to self-image. This means that the occasional smoker is able in one context to perceive himself as a non-smoker in order to maintain a certain self-image, while in another consider himself a smoker. The different occasional smoker identities were categorized into sub-categories: The Bon Vivant, The Social Smoker, The Emotional Smoker, The Responsible Smoker and The Former full-time smoker. Campaigns against smoking often neglect to address the occasional smoker as an important target group and current campaigns have little effect on occasional smokers according to the informants. Due to this the thesis provides a discussion on the findings in terms of managerial implications, which include recommendations for organizations focused on anti-smoking campaigns. The recommendations include the following: an increased focus on health consequences for the occasional smoker, approaching occasional smokers in their natural surroundings, inform rather than preach, treat occasional smokers as a homogeneous group and finally make them realize they too have an addiction. The explorative nature of this thesis can be viewed as a point of departure for further studies.
|Educations||MA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||131|