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Open Access Health Beliefs of American Indian Imagery on Natural American Spirit Packs

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Objective: The tobacco industry has a history of appropriating American Indian imagery for marketing cigarettes. Natural American Spirit (NAS) cigarette packs feature an American Indian warrior, peace pipe, and sacred thunderbird. The current study examined perceptions that NAS is American Indian affiliated and tested associations with purchase intentions and misperceptions that the brand is healthier. Methods: An online sample (N = 914) of never, former, and current smokers saw one NAS and one Pall Mall cigarette pack matched on color (blue, green, or orange/gold). Pack color and presentation order were randomized. Participants rated health perceptions of the brand, purchase intentions, and beliefs of an American Indian connection. Results: Relative to Pall Mall, participants were more likely to believe NAS is American Indian owned and grown and that profits are donated to American Indian organizations. Among current smokers, beliefs of an NAS American Indian affiliation were associated with misperceptions of NAS being a healthier cigarette and purchase intentions. Conclusions: NAS pack design creates misperceptions that the brand is American Indian owned and/or tribally grown, and in turn, healthier and more desirable. Use of American Indian imagery/text to market cigarette products should be prohibited.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 2019

More about this publication?
  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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