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Tob Induc Dis. 2002 Jun 15;1(2):97-109. doi: 10.1186/1617-9625-1-2-97.

Cigarette package design: opportunities for disease prevention.

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Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.



To learn how cigarette packages are designed and to determine to what extent cigarette packages are designed to target children.


A computer search was made of all Internet websites that post tobacco industry documents using the search terms: packaging, package design, package study, box design, logo, trademark and design study. All documents were retrieved electronically and analyzed by the first author for recurrent themes.


Cigarette manufacturers devote a great deal of attention and expense to package design because it is central to their efforts to create brand images. Colors, graphic elements, proportioning, texture, materials and typography are tested and used in various combinations to create the desired product and user images. Designs help to create the perceived product attributes and project a personality image of the user with the intent of fulfilling the psychological needs of the targeted type of smoker. The communication of these images and attributes is conducted through conscious and subliminal processes. Extensive testing is conducted using a variety of qualitative and quantitative research techniques.


The promotion of tobacco products through appealing imagery cannot be stopped without regulating the package design. The same marketing research techniques used by the tobacco companies can be used to design generic packaging and more effective warning labels targeted at specific consumers.

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