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Impact of Package Descriptors on Young Adults' Perceptions of Cigarillos

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Objectives: In this study, we measured the effects of cigarillo packaging colors and flavor descriptors on appeal and perceived risk among young adults. Methods: United States-based young adults (ages 18-24) recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk were randomized to view one of 7 images of cigarillo packages that varied in color (Black and White [B&W], brown, red) and flavor descriptor (none, tobacco, apple). Respondents rated the product's appeal, risk, and addictiveness. Differences in ratings by study condition were assessed using linear regression models with bootstrapped standard errors. Results: There were 2818 participants, and 26.5% reported having ever used a little cigar or cigarillo. Brown and red packaging were rated as more appealing (vs B&W) across 4 dimensions (all ps < .05). Compared to no flavor descriptor, tobacco flavor was rated as more "Attention-Grabbing" (b = 0.21, p = .010) and apple flavor was rated higher on all 8 measures of appeal (all ps < .05) and perceived as less addictive (b = -0.13, p = .024). Conclusions: Colors and flavor descriptors on cigarillo packaging increased appeal and decreased perceived addictiveness. Restricting color and flavor descriptors on packaging may reduce their appeal.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 2020

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  • 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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