Novel means of using cigarette packaging and cigarettes to communicate health risk and cessation messages: A qualitative study

Crawford Moodie, Richard Purves, Jennifer McKell, Marisa De Andrade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Tobacco packaging provides an important means for governments to communicate the health risks associated with smoking. This study explores novel ways in which cigarette packaging, including cigarettes, can be used to communicate health risk and cessation messages. Eight focus groups were conducted with young women smokers (N=49), aged 16-24 years, recruited in Glasgow (Scotland). Each group was shown cigarette packs featuring Quick
Response barcodes which link to stop-smoking websites if scanned by a smartphone; cigarette packs with audio messages explaining the risks associated with smoking or providing information on quitting; and cigarettes displaying the warning ‘Smoking kills’. We explored perceptions of each of these designs. Each design received a mixed response but all were perceived to have some value in communicating risk or cessation messages. Many participants were not aware of how Quick Response barcodes worked and only a few actually
used them, but they were nevertheless viewed positively, with the link to stop-smoking websites considered appropriate and educational. The packs which played audio messages were viewed as embarrassing and annoying, with this discomfort related to the perceived difficulty in avoiding the warning. The on-cigarette warning was considered a reminder of the health risks and off-putting given the perceived discomfort of smoking a cigarette displaying
‘Smoking kills’ in public. This study advances our understanding of how cigarette packaging and cigarettes could potentially be used to communicate with consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333–344
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Volume13
Issue number333
Early online date30 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Keywords

  • tobacco
  • packaging
  • labelling
  • harm reduction
  • public policy

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