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Open Access Pack Modifications Influence Perceptions of Menthol E-cigarettes

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Objectives: Tobacco package colors and descriptors influence attitudes and intentions to use. This study examined the impact of flavor, color, and descriptors on electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) packages young adults' perceptions of e-cigarettes. Methods: We recruited 2872 US participants ages 18-24 from Amazon Mechanical Turk (2018-2019) and randomized them to view one of 7 e-cigarette package images that varied by flavor (menthol vs tobacco), color (green or brown vs black and white), and descriptor (present vs absent). Models examined main and interactive effects of flavor, color, and descriptor on perceptions of appeal, harm, and addictiveness, and the moderating effects of product appeal. Results: Menthol e-cigarette packages were rated as more "attention grabbing," "appetizing," and "fun to use." Perceptions of harm and addictiveness did not vary across package conditions. Interactions of menthol pack conditions with appeal emerged. Specifically, participants exposed to the green package with the menthol descriptor reported low e-cigarette harm perceptions across all levels of "attention grabbing" and "discourages use," while those exposed to the green package without the menthol descriptor or the brown package with the tobacco descriptor reported lower harm perceptions as ratings of product appeal increased. Conclusions: Colors and descriptors on e-cigarette packaging influence product appeal and harm perceptions.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 2021

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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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