Tobacco packaging that reminds smokers how the society disapproves the activity can create self-consciousness among them and help reduce smoking intentions. Isolated smokers who do not perceive smoking as identity-related finds this strategy effective to curb the practice. The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs.
The study involved an online experiment with a panel of 156 American adult smokers, who were randomly assigned to view one of two tobacco packages, which included the same tagline ("this is how people look at smokers") but portrayed different images. Specifically, packages featured black and white photographs of the same individuals either displaying neutral or disgusted expressions.
‘This strategy is effective in helping smokers quit, who already have a stigma towards smoking.’
"Tobacco denormalization strategies such as workplace and social setting bans have used social pressure as a means of discouraging smoking. Our early research suggests that tobacco packaging itself may be another tool by which to exert similar pressure, especially in those smokers already sensitive to smoking stigma," said co-author Dr. Jennifer Jeffrey of King's University College at Western University, in Canada.