"It's all About the Colors:" How do Mexico City Youth Perceive Cigarette Pack Design

Int J Public Health. 2021 Mar 10;66:585434. doi: 10.3389/ijph.2021.585434. eCollection 2021.


Objectives: Cigarette packs are relevant to branding strategies, designed to appeal to specific groups. There is little research on how pack features increase product appeal among key constituents such as youth in low- and middle-income countries. Methods: We conducted 10 focus group discussions (FGDs) with adolescents and 5 FGDs with young adult smokers in Mexico City, separated by age, gender, smoking, and socioeconomic status. Participants separated 23 cigarette packs into "appealing" and "unappealing" groups, and were asked to explain their decisions, describing the features that supported their views. FGDs were video-recorded, transcribed in Spanish, translated into English, and subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Pack groupings did not differ greatly across FGDs; bold, contrasting colors and elements communicating flavor and promotion increased cigarette pack appeal and desire to try. Participants perceived packs with these features to be used by and designed for youth, like themselves. Conclusion: Our findings reinforce the importance of packaging design in attracting new consumers and maintaining current ones. Mexico should consider stronger tobacco advertising policies that include packaging color and depiction of flavor to reduce product appeal.

Keywords: flavor capsule; global tobacco control; marketing; product packaging; qualitative research; youth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Color
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Perception*
  • Product Packaging*
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Young Adult