Cigarette flavors, package shape, and cigarette brand perceptions: an experiment among young Brazilian women

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Objective. In 2012, a new Brazilian regulation prohibited the use of flavor additives in tobacco products. To better understand the potential impact of this regulation, this study examines how flavor descriptors on cigarette packaging influence brand perceptions among young Brazilian women. Methods. An online cross-sectional experiment was conducted with Brazilian women aged 16–26 (N = 640: 182 smokers and 458 nonsmokers) who rated 10 cigarette packages from one of three conditions: 1) branded packs; 2) packs with the same size, shape, and verbal descriptions as in condition 1, but without brand imagery (i.e., “plain pack”); and 3) packs from condition 2 but without brand descriptors (i.e., “plain pack, no descriptors”). Mixed-effects linear regression models were utilized to determine what associations that pack features (i.e., experimental condition; flavor descriptor vs. not; slim pack vs. not) had with participant ratings of nine characteristics, including appeal, taste, smoothness, and attributes of people who smoke the brand. Results. Flavored branded packs were rated as more appealing, better tasting, and smoother than flavored plain packs with descriptors. Compared to flavored plain packs with descriptors, the same packs without descriptors were rated less positively on eight of the nine characteristics. Compared to nonsusceptible nonsmokers, susceptible nonsmokers rated flavored packs more positively on eight of the nine characteristics. Slim packs were rated more positively than regular packs on eight of the nine characteristics. Conclusions. Slim packs and brands highlighting tobacco flavors appear to increase positive perceptions of tobacco products. Banning tobacco flavorings and slim packs may reduce the appeal of smoking for young Brazilian women, as well as for other vulnerable populations.




Islam, F., Thrasher, J. F., Szklo, A., Figueiredo, V. C., Perez, C. de A., White, C. M., & Hammond, D. (2018). Cigarette flavors, package shape, and cigarette brand perceptions: an experiment among young Brazilian women. Revista Panamericana de Salud Publica/Pan American Journal of Public Health, 42.

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