Twelve focus groups in Glasgow (Scotland) were conducted with female non-smokers and occasional smokers aged 12-24 years (N = 75), with each group shown 11 cigarettes: two (standard) cigarettes with cork filters; two coloured cigarettes (pink or brown); four slim cigarettes; an aromatized black cigarette; a menthol cigarette and a cigarette with a flavour-changing rupturable capsule in the filter. Participants were asked to rank the cigarettes by appeal, taste and harm. The capsule cigarette was then discussed in depth. The pink coloured cigarette and slim cigarettes created significant interest and were generally perceived as most appealing and pleasant tasting, and least harmful. The black aromatized cigarette received a mixed response, with some disliking the dark colour and associating it with low appeal, strong taste and increased harm, whereas for others the smell helped to enhance appeal and taste perceptions and lower perceptions of harm. The novel capsule cigarette, when discussed in-depth, was viewed very positively. Just as research shows that cigarette packs can influence perceptions of appeal, harm and taste, this study suggests that the actual cigarettes can do likewise. The findings have implications for tobacco education and policy.
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