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Cigarette Packaging Still Too Alluring, Studies Find
Date:5/27/2011

of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, conclude that cigarettes should be sold in standardized plain packs with coloring restricted much like wording.

In one study, about 190 smokers were shown six cigarette packages of Marlboro or Peter Jackson, a brand sold in Australia. The packages, in different shades and colors, had all text removed other than the brand name.

Participants who said they were concerned with health, tar, nicotine and safety overwhelmingly picked the "whitest" package, such as an ivory-colored pack of Peter Jackson's.

In a second experiment, researchers showed about 200 smokers and 200 nonsmokers pictures of cigarette packages that differed by a single element, either color (for example, light blue vs. dark blue); number ("10" vs. "6" ); or the size of the health warning.

About 87 percent said they'd choose the lighter colored package over the darker one if they were trying to reduce their health risks. The lighter colored package was also strongly associated with smoother taste and less tar.

About 89 percent of those concerned about health said they'd pick the package with the number "6" vs. "10," while 88 percent believed the packaging marked with a "10" had more tar than one marked with a "6."

About 81 percent thought a package labeled "full flavor" had more tar than one with the word "silver" on the front, while 78 percent said they would choose the "silver" pack to reduce health risks.

A third study tested reactions to proposed "corrective" statements about tobacco company misinformation that the U.S. federal court in the Department of Justice case against cigarette manufacturers is seeking to slap on cigarette packages.

Study participants temporarily increased their knowledge about smoking risks, but the researchers concluded that people need sustained exposure for such messages to sink in.

These efforts stem in part from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control
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