Objectives: We examined the interactive effects of cigarette package flavor descriptors and sensation seeking on adolescents' brand perceptions.
Methods: High school students (N=253) were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions and sequentially exposed to cigarette package illustrations for three different brands. In the flavor descriptor condition, the package illustrations included a description of the cigarettes as "cherry," while in the traditional descriptor condition the cigarette brands were described with common package based phrases such as "domestic blend." Following exposure to each package illustration, participants' hedonic beliefs, brand attitudes, and trial intentions were assessed. Sensation seeking was also measured, and participants were categorized as lower or higher sensation seekers.
Results: Across hedonic belief, brand attitude, and trial intention measures, there were interactions between package descriptor condition and sensation seeking. These interactions revealed that among high (but not low) sensation seekers, exposure to cigarette packages including flavor descriptors led to more favorable brand impressions than did exposure to packages with traditional descriptors.
Conclusions: Among high sensation seeking youth, the appeal of cigarette brands is enhanced through the use of flavors and associated descriptions on product packaging.
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