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      Menthol and flavor capsule cigarettes in the Philippines: A comparison of pack design

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          Tobacco use is a major public health problem in the Philippines. Menthol flavored and flavor capsule cigarettes are independently associated with increased smoking initiation and appeal to youth and young adults. Packaging is an important tobacco marketing tool. We describe cigarette packs sold in the Philippines market and describe products’ flavor and capsule inclusion.


          Tobacco packs were systematically collected in the Philippines in 2016 and categorized as non-flavored non-capsule, menthol non-capsule, menthol capsule, and non-menthol capsule. Structural elements (e.g. pack type, shape) and graphic components (e.g. imagery, descriptors, color) of the packs were compared.


          Menthol capsule packs were significantly more likely to be hard packs than menthol non-capsule. Menthol packs were more likely to be colored green than non-flavored packs. Non-menthol capsule packs were more likely to display the term ‘fresh’ than non-capsule packs. Capsule packs were more likely to display technological appeals than non-capsule packs.


          Menthol and flavor capsule cigarettes are packaged differently (most notably, in terms of color and technological appeals) than non-menthol and non-capsule packs. Packaging and labeling policy should take this into consideration.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Marketing of menthol cigarettes and consumer perceptions: a review of tobacco industry documents

          Objective To examine tobacco industry marketing of menthol cigarettes and to determine what the tobacco industry knew about consumer perceptions of menthol. Methods A snowball sampling design was used to systematically search the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (LTDL) ( between 28 February and 27 April 2010. Of the approximately 11 million documents available in the LTDL, the iterative searches returned tens of thousands of results from the major US tobacco companies and affiliated organisations. A collection of 953 documents from the 1930s to the first decade of the 21st century relevant to 1 or more of the research questions were qualitatively analysed, as follows: (1) are/were menthol cigarettes marketed with health reassurance messages? (2) What other messages come from menthol cigarette advertising? (3) How do smokers view menthol cigarettes? (4) Were menthol cigarettes marketed to specific populations? Results Menthol cigarettes were marketed as, and are perceived by consumers to be, healthier than non-menthol cigarettes. Menthol cigarettes are also marketed to specific social and demographic groups, including African–Americans, young people and women, and are perceived by consumers to signal social group belonging. Conclusions The tobacco industry knew consumers perceived menthol as healthier than non-menthol cigarettes, and this was the intent behind marketing. Marketing emphasising menthol attracts consumers who may not otherwise progress to regular smoking, including young, inexperienced users and those who find ‘regular’ cigarettes undesirable. Such marketing may also appeal to health-concerned smokers who might otherwise quit.
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            Consumer perceptions of product packaging

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              What do cigarette pack colors communicate to smokers in the U.S.?

              New legislation in the U.S. prohibits tobacco companies from labeling cigarette packs with terms such as light, mild, or low after June 2010. However, experience from countries that have removed these descriptors suggests that different terms, colors, or numbers communicating the same messages may replace them. The main purpose of this study was to examine how cigarette pack colors are perceived by smokers to correspond to different descriptive terms. Newspaper advertisements and postings directed interested current smokers to a survey website. Eligible participants were shown an array of six cigarette packages (altered to remove all descriptive terms) and asked to link package images with their corresponding descriptive terms. Participants were then asked to identify which pack in the array they would choose if they were concerned with health, tar, nicotine, image, and taste. A total of 193 participants completed the survey from February to March 2008 (data were analyzed from May 2008 through November 2010). Participants were more accurate in matching descriptors to pack images for Marlboro brand cigarettes than for unfamiliar Peter Jackson brand (sold in Australia). Smokers overwhelmingly chose the "whitest" pack if they were concerned about health, tar, and nicotine. Smokers in the U.S. associate brand descriptors with colors. Further, white packaging appears to most influence perceptions of safety. Removal of descriptor terms but not the associated colors will be insufficient in eliminating misperceptions about the risks from smoking communicated to smokers through packaging. Copyright © 2011 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Tob Induc Dis
                Tob Induc Dis
                Tobacco Induced Diseases
                European Publishing on behalf of the International Society for the Prevention of Tobacco Induced Diseases (ISPTID)
                01 November 2019
                : 17
                [1 ]Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, United States
                [2 ]Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Baltimore, United States
                [3 ]Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, United States
                Author notes
                CORRESPONDENCE TO Jennifer L. Brown. Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2213 McElderry St., Fourth Floor, Baltimore, MD 21205, United States. E-mail: jbrow212@
                © 2019 Brown J.L

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                Research Paper

                Respiratory medicine

                content analysis, tobacco marketing, tobacco product packaging


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