Citation Gallopel-Morvan K, Moodie C, Guignard R, Eker F & Beguinot E (2019) Consumer Perceptions of Cigarette Design in France: A Comparison of Regular, Slim, Pink and Plain Cigarettes. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 21 (7), pp. 911-917. https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/nty105
The cigarette, like the cigarette pack, is used by tobacco companies as a promotional tool. We explore how the cigarette could potentially be used as a dissuasive tool.
An online survey was conducted with 15-30 year old smokers and non-smokers (N=998) in France to explore their perceptions of a plain cigarette (grey with no brand name) and three branded cigarettes (regular, slim, pink). Participants were randomly assigned to view the plain cigarette and either the regular, slim or pink cigarette. They were asked to rate the cigarettes by Appeal (tastiest, highest quality, most expensive), Harm (most dangerous, most effective for motivating people to talk about tobacco dangers), and Perceived behavioral impact (most effective to convince teenagers not to start, to motivate smokers to reduce consumption and quit).
In comparison to the grey cigarette, each of the branded cigarettes were considered more appealing, less harmful, and more likely to motivate teenagers to start and less likely to motivate smokers to reduce consumption or quit.
The study suggests that altering the appearance of the cigarette may reduce cigarette appeal, increase harm perceptions, and deter both young people and smokers.
Very little research has focused on dissuasive cigarettes whereas the cigarette stick has become very important for tobacco companies for communication purposes. This is the first study to compare the effect of various branded cigarettes (regular, slim, pink) with a plain grey cigarette on young adult smokers and non-smokers. The findings suggest that a plain grey cigarette can reduce cigarette appeal, increase perceptions of harm, and may deter use among both smokers and non-smokers.