Online Program

Tracking global advances in cigarette packaging: A brazilian case study

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Katherine Clegg Smith, PhD, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Joanna Cohen, PhD, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Carmen Washington, MPH, MSW, Institute for Global Tobacco Control, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Packaging is recognized as an important component of tobacco advertising, particularly in contexts where other advertising avenues are restricted. Large graphic health warnings are one way to limit packaging design influence. We present a case study of a surveillance system for health warning implementation and for cigarette packaging that violates or detracts from country tobacco advertising and packaging laws.

In January 2013, cigarette packs were purchased in three diverse, large Brazilian cities (Sao Paulo, Manaus and Salvador). All available cigarette packs were purchased from a sample of 36 Brazilian vendors from high, medium and low socio-economic status neighborhoods in each city. Each pack is being coded for adherence to warning label regulation and key design features. Price was recorded and analysis of pack design by price point will occur.

The data collection strategy yielded 131 unique cigarette packs, representing 36 brands; we collected 20 different packs associated with one brand (‘Free') and 14 with another (‘Marlboro). The sample includes multiple ‘special edition' or promotional packs (eg. packaging with a free branded lighter or branded tin case). Design features include references to health, technology, American identity, gender identity, social media links and innovative pack structure. One leading brand (Free) makes regular use of iPhone imagery. This case study provides a template for considerations of packaging innovation in response to increasing tobacco marketing restrictions globally. In the U.S., the principles of such a surveillance system could inform the ongoing legal battle regarding the requirement for graphic health warnings on cigarette packs.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the principles for establishing a surveillance system for tobacco packaging that can be applied across countries Discuss how elements of pack design can serve to undermine graphic health warnings on packs Identify key elements for global policy initiatives to restrict packaging innovations for tobacco products

Keyword(s): Tobacco Policy, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am leading this research and I have extensive experience in tobacco control communication research
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.