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Influence of premium vs masked cigarette brand names on the experienced taste of a cigarette after tobacco plain packaging in Australia: an experimental study

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posted on 2022-03-28, 22:30 authored by Gemma SkaczkowskiGemma Skaczkowski, S Durkin, Y Kashima, M Wakefield
Background: Few studies have experimentally assessed the contribution of branding to the experience of smoking a cigarette, compared with the inherent properties of the product. This study examined the influence of cigarette brand name on the sensory experience of smoking a cigarette. Methods: Seventy-five Australian smokers aged 18-39 years smoked two 'premium' cigarettes, one with the brand variant name shown and one with the brand variant name masked (which provided 'objective' ratings). Unknown to participants, the two cigarettes were identical. At recruitment, participants rated their expected enjoyment, quality and harshness of several premium cigarette brands. Results: Branded cigarettes were rated as having a significantly more favorable taste (M(SE) = 64.14(2.21)) than masked cigarettes (M(SE) = 58.53(2.26), p =.031). Branded cigarettes were also rated as being less stale (M(SE) = 36.04(2.62)) than masked cigarettes (M(SE) = 43.90(2.60), p =.011). Purchase intent tended to be higher among those shown the branded cigarette compared to the masked cigarette (χ2 (1) = 3.00, p =.083). Expected enjoyment and quality of the brand variant (enjoyment: b = 0.31, 95%CI = 0.11, 0.51, p <.01; quality: b = 0.46, 95%CI = 0.21, 0.72, p <.01) contributed to the perceived smoking experience more than the objective enjoyment and quality of the cigarette (enjoyment: b = 0.23, 95%CI = 0.05, 0.41, p <.05; quality: b = 0.08, 95%CI = - 0.13, 0.30, p >.05). This pattern was not observed for cigarette harshness. Conclusions: A premium brand variant name can enhance the subjective experience of a cigarette. Further, smokers' expectations of such brand variants contribute to the smoking experience as much, if not more than, the actual qualities of the product.


This work was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) [grant number 623203]. GS was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. MW is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow.


Publication Date



BMC Public Health



Article Number



10p. (p. 1-10)


Springer Nature



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© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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