Objective: To assess whether standardised packs of the form introduced in Australia are associated with a reduction in acute craving and/or an increase in motivation to stop, and to replicate previous findings on perceptions of packaging, perceptions of smokers using it and perceived effects on behaviour.
Design: Following abstinence of at least 12 h, 98 regular and occasional smokers were randomised to exposure to their own cigarette package, another branded package or a standardised package.
Main outcome measures: Craving (QSU-brief), motivation to stop, both at baseline and post-exposure. Ratings of 10 attributes concerning package design, perceived smoker characteristics and effects on behaviour, post-exposure only.
Results: For craving, a mixed model ANCOVA showed a significant interaction of packaging and time of measurement (F(2,94) = 8.77, p < .001, partial η(2) = .16). There was no significant main effect or interaction for motivation to stop smoking (p = .9). The standardised pack was perceived to be significantly less appealing and less motivating to buy cigarettes, smokers using them were perceived as less popular and cigarettes from them expected to taste worse.
Conclusion: Standardised cigarette packaging may reduce acute (hedonic) craving and is associated with more negative perceptions than branded packaging with less prominent health warnings.
Keywords: craving; motivation to stop smoking; plain packaging; standardised packaging; tobacco control.