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