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Cigarette brands with flavour capsules in the filter: trends in use and brand perceptions among smokers in the USA, Mexico and Australia, 2012–2014
  1. James F Thrasher1,2,
  2. Erika N Abad-Vivero2,
  3. Crawford Moodie3,
  4. Richard J O'Connor4,
  5. David Hammond5,
  6. K Michael Cummings6,
  7. Hua-Hie Yong7,
  8. Ramzi G Salloum8,
  9. Christine Czoli5,
  10. Luz Myriam Reynales-Shigematsu2
  1. 1Department of Health Promotion, Education & Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA
  2. 2Department of Tobacco Research, Center for Population Health Research, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Mexico
  3. 3University of Stirling, Scotland, UK
  4. 4Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA
  5. 5School of Public Health & Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, USA
  7. 7Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
  8. 8Department of Health Services Policy & Management, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr James F Thrasher, Department of Health Promotion, Education & Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Discovery I Building, 534D, 915 Greene Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA; thrasher{at}


Objective To describe trends, correlates of use and consumer perceptions related to the product design innovation of flavour capsules in cigarette filters.

Methods Quarterly surveys from 2012 to 2014 were analysed from an online consumer panel of adult smokers aged 18–64, living in the USA (n=6865 observations; 4154 individuals); Mexico (n=5723 observations; 3366 individuals); and Australia (n=5864 observations; 2710 individuals). Preferred brand varieties were classified by price (ie, premium; discount) and flavour (ie, regular; flavoured without capsule; flavoured with capsule). Participants reported their preferred brand variety's appeal (ie, satisfaction; stylishness), taste (ie, smoothness, intensity), and harm relative to other brands and varieties. GEE models were used to determine time trends and correlates of flavour capsule use, as well as associations between preferred brand characteristics (ie, price stratum, flavour) and perceptions of relative appeal, taste and harm.

Results Preference for flavour capsules increased significantly in Mexico (6% to 14%) and Australia (1% to 3%), but not in the USA (4% to 5%). 18–24 year olds were most likely to prefer capsules in the USA (10%) and Australia (4%), but not Mexico. When compared to smokers who preferred regular brands, smokers who preferred brands with capsules viewed their variety of cigarettes as having more positive appeal (all countries), better taste (all countries), and lesser risk (Mexico, USA) than other brand varieties.

Conclusions Results indicate that use of cigarettes with flavour capsules is growing, is associated with misperceptions of relative harm, and differentiates brands in ways that justify regulatory action.

  • Packaging and Labelling
  • Surveillance and monitoring
  • Advertising and Promotion

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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