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  1. Tobacco Science & Research

Cigarette Packaging: Design, Cognition, and Consumer Choices

Cigarette Packaging: Design, Cognition, and Consumer Choices

Principal Investigator: Joseph G. L. Lee

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – Grant

ID number: 1R03CA212542-01

Award Date: 9/22/2016

Institution: East Carolina University


As part of its regulation of tobacco products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can assess tobacco product packaging and labeling. Additional scientific evidence regarding what types of pack labeling changes matter to perceptions of “newness” would be informative. Study aims are: (1) to determine how adult smokers perceive cigarette product newness and identify design characteristics related to perceptions of newness; (2) to determine which cigarette pack design characteristics, when changed, are most important to adult smokers’ perception of product newness; and (3) to link changes in pack design identified in Aim 2 to adult smokers’ perceptions of taste, quality, and harm. Researchers will first investigate smoker perceptions of cigarette packaging changes by conducting five online focus groups including 6-8 adult smokers each; two groups will be diverse groups of low-income smokers, two will be diverse groups of LGBT smokers, and one will include diverse smokers in the general population. Researchers will then use focus group findings to inform two online surveys conducted with separate groups of 250 adult smokers each. The first experiment will assess which changes to pack labeling identified by the focus groups are most associated with the product being perceived as a new, distinct product. The second experiment will assess the influence of these labeling changes on the thoughts and feelings that drive smoker behavior. In these experiments, one-third of the subjects will be lower-income and one-third will be LGBT.