The Effect of Cigarillo Packaging Characteristics on Young Adult Perceptions and Intentions: An Experimental Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 19;18(8):4330. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18084330.


Research demonstrates that characteristics of cigarette packaging influence consumer product perceptions, yet the current literature on the impact of cigar packaging is limited. This study aims to examine how different cigarillo packaging features influence young adult cigar smokers' perceptions. In 2016, we recruited past-year cigar users aged 18-34 from Amazon Mechanical Turk (N = 1260). We utilized a 2 × 2 × 3 × 2 between-subjects factorial design, randomly assigning participants to view one of 24 images of a cigarillo package that varied by brand (Black & Mild vs. Swisher Sweets), brand name (full vs. abbreviated), color (brown vs. green vs. purple), and price promotion (present vs. absent). Participants rated the product on several perceptions and purchase intentions, and they reported on cigar use and demographics. Overall, color and brand name influenced perceptions, but effects varied by brand. For Swisher Sweets, only price promotions influenced perceptions (e.g., taste, use for marijuana); for Black & Mild, all packaging features influenced perceptions (e.g., harshness, tobacco quality), and price promotions increased purchase intentions. Our findings also raise questions that product features may interact with one another, with certain features, such as color, overpowering other attributes. More research is needed to understand the impact of other packaging features, such as warning labels, on product perceptions across a variety of brands.

Keywords: cigars; communication; product perceptions; tobacco control; tobacco packaging; tobacco regulatory science.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Perception
  • Product Packaging
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Young Adult