Adolescent perceptions of cigarette appearance
ABSTRACT To reduce the possibility of cigarette appearance misleading consumers about harm caused by the product, the European Commission's draft Tobacco Products Directive proposed banning cigarettes <7.5 mm in diameter. It appears however, following a plenary vote in the European Parliament, that this will not be part of the final Tobacco Products Directive. To reduce the appeal of cigarettes, the Australian Government banned the use of branding on cigarettes and stipulated a maximum cigarette length as part of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act. We explored the role, if any, of cigarette appearance on perceptions of appeal and harm among adolescents.
Focus group research with 15-year-olds (N = 48) was conducted in Glasgow (Scotland) to explore young people's perceptions of eight cigarettes differing in length, diameter, colour and decorative design.
Slim and superslim cigarettes with white filter tips and decorative features were viewed most favourably and rated most attractive across gender and socio-economic groups. The slimmer diameters of these cigarettes communicated weaker tasting and less harmful looking cigarettes. This was closely linked to appeal as thinness implied a more pleasant and palatable smoke for young smokers. A long brown cigarette was viewed as particularly unattractive and communicated a stronger and more harmful product.
This exploratory study provides some support that standardising cigarette appearance could reduce the appeal of cigarettes in adolescents and reduce the opportunity for stick design to mislead young smokers in terms of harm.
- BMJ (online) 11/2013; 347:f6759. DOI:10.1136/bmj.f6759 · 16.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cigarette rod length as a design feature may play a specific role in harm perception and tobacco use. Internal tobacco industry documents have shown targeting of females with long/ultra-long cigarettes. This study assessed trends and differences in smoking of long/ultra-long cigarettes among U.S. smokers aged ≥20 years during 1999 through 2012. Data were obtained from the 1999/2000 through 2011/2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The proportion of current smokers who reported using long/ultra-long cigarettes during each survey year was calculated and compared using χ(2) statistics. Linear and quadratic trends during 1999 through 2012 were assessed using binary logistic regression (p<0.05). Multi-variable analyses were performed to assess current disparities in smoking of long/ultra-long cigarettes. Despite overall declines in current smoking of long/ultra-long cigarettes during the 1999 through 2012 period (p<0.001 for both linear and quadratic trends), the proportion of smokers of long/ultra-long brands increased in recent years, with over a third (38.7%) of current smokers reporting smoking of long/ultra-long cigarettes during 2011/2012. Current smokers of long/ultra-long cigarettes were more likely to be female compared to males (aOR=3.09; 95%CI: 2.09-4.58), of black race compared to whites (aOR=2.07; 95%CI: 1.30-3.28), or aged 45-64, or ≥65 years (aOR=2.39 and 5.27, respectively), compared to 18-24 year olds. Specific gender, age and race/ethnic characteristics of smokers of long/ultra-long cigarettes were noted, hence potentially contributing to the widening of health disparities. Cigarette rod length should be considered an important aspect of cigarette engineering/design in regulatory efforts to reduce the burden of tobacco-related disease.Drug and alcohol dependence 12/2013; 136. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.12.004 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Twelve focus groups in Glasgow (Scotland) were conducted with female non-smokers and occasional smokers aged 12-24 years (N = 75), with each group shown 11 cigarettes: two (standard) cigarettes with cork filters; two coloured cigarettes (pink or brown); four slim cigarettes; an aromatized black cigarette; a menthol cigarette and a cigarette with a flavour-changing rupturable capsule in the filter. Participants were asked to rank the cigarettes by appeal, taste and harm. The capsule cigarette was then discussed in depth. The pink coloured cigarette and slim cigarettes created significant interest and were generally perceived as most appealing and pleasant tasting, and least harmful. The black aromatized cigarette received a mixed response, with some disliking the dark colour and associating it with low appeal, strong taste and increased harm, whereas for others the smell helped to enhance appeal and taste perceptions and lower perceptions of harm. The novel capsule cigarette, when discussed in-depth, was viewed very positively. Just as research shows that cigarette packs can influence perceptions of appeal, harm and taste, this study suggests that the actual cigarettes can do likewise. The findings have implications for tobacco education and policy.Health Education Research 10/2014; 30(1). DOI:10.1093/her/cyu063 · 1.66 Impact Factor