Impact of female-oriented cigarette packaging in the United States

Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Jul;13(7):579-88. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntr045. Epub 2011 Apr 12.


Introduction: Cigarette packaging is among the most prominent forms of tobacco marketing. This study examined the impact of cigarette pack design among young women in the United States.

Method: A national sample of 18- to 19-year-old females in the United States completed an online survey in February 2010. Participants were randomized to view eight cigarette packs designed according to one of four experimental conditions: fully branded female packs, same packs without descriptors (e.g., "slims"), same packs without brand imagery or descriptors ("plain" packs), and branded non-female brands. Participants rated packs on measures of appeal and health risk and completed a behavioral pack selection task.

Results: Fully branded female packs were rated significantly more appealing than the same packs without descriptors, "plain" packs, and non-female-branded packs. Female-branded packs were associated with a greater number of positive attributes including glamour, slimness, and attractiveness and were more likely to be perceived as less harmful. Approximately 40% of smokers and nonsmokers requested a pack at the end of the study; female-branded packs were 3 times more likely to be selected than plain packs.

Conclusion: Plain packaging and removing descriptors such as "slims" from cigarette packs may reduce smoking susceptibility among young women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising*
  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Marketing / methods*
  • Product Packaging*
  • Smoking
  • Tars
  • Taste Perception
  • Tobacco Industry
  • United States
  • Visual Perception*
  • Young Adult


  • Tars