Influence of Cigarette Package Brand on the Emotional Impact of Tobacco-Warning Images That Cover 30% of Cigarette Packs in Smokers and Nonsmokers

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Abstract

Introduction:

Research on the emotional impact of tobacco-warning images (TWIs) has not evaluated the role of context (ie, cigarette packs) as a modulator of the emotional response to TWIs. The objective of the present study was to identify the influence of the cigarette package brand on the emotional impact of TWIs that cover 30% of cigarette packs in smokers and nonsmokers using a specific methodology for the study of emotion.

Methods:

The participants included 95 smokers and 111 nonsmokers who observed three TWIs under two conditions: TWIs that covered 30% of cigarette packs and TWIs alone, without brands. Additionally, 18 pictures from the International Affective Picture System were presented as comparison stimuli and to reduce the effect of habituation. The Self-Assessment Manikin was used to assess valence, arousal, and dominance dimensions.

Results:

TWIs that covered 30% of cigarette packs were evaluated as least aversive, with lower ratings of arousal and higher ratings of dominance in both groups. Differences in the valence, arousal, and dominance dimensions were found between groups. Smokers rated TWIs that covered 30% of cigarette packs as less aversive and more arousing and gave them lower dominance scores compared with nonsmokers.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that cigarette packages modulate the emotional impact of TWIs, especially in smokers, and the minimum size of TWIs (ie, 30% of the front and back of the package) is not sufficiently large to generate an emotional impact associated with avoidance behavior.

Implications:

Cigarette packages modulate the emotional impact of TWIs, especially in smokers. The cigarette package itself is an appetitive context that captures the attention of the observer and decreases the aversive emotional response to the TWIs. The minimum size of TWIs (ie, 30% of the front and back of the package) is not sufficiently large to generate an emotional impact associated with avoidance behavior.

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