Consumer perception of cigarette yields: is the message relevant?

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1990 Aug;12(1):64-8. doi: 10.1016/s0273-2300(05)80047-9.


Over 1200 randomly selected subjects from the U.S. and key European countries were interviewed by telephone, to establish how consumers perceive the meaning and relative value scale of tar yields of commercial cigarettes. Some 50% of respondents interpreted numerical tar yields as being precise quantitative predictors of intake related to health effects. A less precise quantitative intuition is shown by 20-30% of respondents. The remaining respondents had little or no interest in, or understanding of, tar yield meaning. Despite local differences, the aggregate responses from the U.S. were analogous to European responses and were not significantly affected by age, sex, or socioeconomic status. The results show that consumers expect a cigarette grading message predictive of actual intake from different brands. The current message based on standard analytical yields does not meet this requirement and needs modification. Cigarette ratings based on the tar-to-nicotine ratio of standard yields could offer the basis for an acceptable message.

MeSH terms

  • Advertising*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Tars / analysis*
  • Tobacco / analysis*
  • United States


  • Tars
  • Nicotine