Teenagers Influenced by cigarette packages

Teenagers have been shown to be influenced by cigarette packages
Teenagers have been shown to be influenced by cigarette packages

New study shows teenagers are influenced by cigarette packaging



19 September 2013

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A new study shows that teenagers would be discouraged from taking up smoking or would quit smoking if they were sold in plain packages. The study, released today (Thursday), surveyed 15-16 year olds in Ireland in focus groups across Ireland.

The research, jointly commissioned by the Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society, found cigarettes on sale in Ireland communicate fun and style, and give the perception that smokers look and feel better about themselves.

The study was supported by several children’s groups including Barnardos and the ISPCC. 

The groups are supporting legislation that will introduce plain packaging for cigarettes. Health Minister Dr. James Reilly is hoping to introduce the legislation which will make it illegal for cigarette companies to use colour, text and packet size to market cigarettes to consumers, in the coming months. Minister Reilly hopes to bring the laws into force early next year.

At the launch of the study’s findings, attendees were told that the teenagers who took part thought that current cigarette packages on the market in Ireland were fun, stylish and made the smoker ‘look and feel better’ about themselves. While costs and budgets generally prevent teenagers from buying premium brands, the study showed that appealing packages provide incentives to purchase the product. When the focus groups where shown the proposed standardised packages, the majority said they would not smoke when the new packs are introduced because they are at odds with the image they want to portray.

The main attributes that teens look for when evaluating the appeal of cigarette packs included colour, box and cigarette shape, pack imagery and the brand name. The teenagers felt that the cigarettes’ positive brand attributes, like glamour or fashion, are projected onto those who smoke them.

At the launch of the report, Minister Reilly said: "Given all we know about the dangers of smoking, we cannot allow deceptive marketing gimmicks to be used to lure our children into a deadly addiction that will ultimately kill half of those who become addicted. Standardised packaging is the next logical step in combatting this public health epidemic."

The legislation will ban logos, branding, colours, graphics and trademarks from cigarette packets, making Ireland the second country to do this after Australia. The Health Minister stressed he wants the new unbranded packets on sale next year despite objections by lobbyists.

"Then we’ll have a big row about them having to use up existing supplies and I’m going to fight them on that because as far as I’m concerned they can use hose supplies somewhere else," he added. "I want to protect the young people in this country."

Elsewhere Dr. Reilly said he is in talks to try and make electronic cigarettes above a certain concentration to be classed as a medicinal product.






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