Cigarette packaging: Youth perceptions of "natural" cigarettes, filter references, and contraband tobacco

J Adolesc Health. 2014 Jan;54(1):33-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.016. Epub 2013 Sep 4.


Purpose: The current study examined youth perceptions of appeal and harm of cigarette packaging with "natural" tobacco descriptors and references to filtration, as well as contraband tobacco in generic packaging.

Methods: In a between-group experiment, 7,647 youth were randomized to view a pair of cigarette packages and rate perceptions of appeal and relative risk.

Results: The findings indicate that packages with "natural" descriptors were rated as significantly more appealing and less harmful. Packages with filter references were rated as significantly less harmful, whereas contraband cigarettes were rated as significantly less appealing than leading brands.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that cigarette packaging can enhance the appeal of cigarettes and may promote false beliefs about the reduced harm of brands. The lower appeal of contraband cigarettes suggests that other factors, such as reduced price and ease of access, likely account for contraband use among youth.

Keywords: Appeal; Packaging; Risk; Tobacco; Youth smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing
  • Ontario
  • Product Labeling*
  • Product Packaging*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Tobacco Products*