A new study published in the Journal of Public Health has found that people rate cigarettes in attractive packages as less deadly than others. Or, to put it another way, the study found that people who are asked to compare cigarettes based on their packages are inclined to prefer the smartly packaged ones:
The study – one in a series of papers on cigarette packaging – had more than 600 adults, smokers and non-smokers, rate a variety of fictitious cigarette packages.
Participants were asked to compare packages in pairs and say which they believed would taste smoother, deliver more tar and carry lower health risks.
Eighty per cent of those surveyed said they believed the package labelled “smooth” would be less hazardous than the one labelled “regular.”
A lighter blue box was also thought to carry a lower health risk than a darker one, while about 75 per cent of respondents found a box with the picture of a charcoal filter likely to be less risky than one without the illustration.
The researchers are from Canada, where cigarette packs are already covered with large, graphic warning labels. While evidence has shown that these labels have helped cut down on smoking, the scholars are pushing for plain, standardized packaging for all brands. That way, teenagers will have to turn to Hollywood and magazine ads to figure out what to smoke.
Snazzy cigarette packaging has consumers thinking the product is less lethal [Canadian Press] (via PR Watch)