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Home > E-cigarette packaging and flavour research.

McCaffrey, Niall (2019) E-cigarette packaging and flavour research. Dublin: IPSOS MRBI.

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The objectives of the research were as follows:

  • To determine whether adolescents report that they would be more likely to try e-cigarettes with fruity flavours than tobacco and menthol flavours.
  • To determine the extent to which the bright, cartoonish packaging of these sweet-flavoured e-liquids appeal to adolescents.
  • To capture youth views on which demographic they believe is being targeted by sweet-flavoured products. 

Summary of findings

E-cigarette packaging

  • Respondents highlighted the packaging designs that they believed were likely to appeal to people their age.
  • They believed that some of the packaging designs were utilising cues from tobacco products (colours, packaging shape and flavours). These were expected to appeal to those who smoked/those looking to quit.
  • Other packaging also appeared to leverage cues from medical/healthcare packaging. These were expected to appeal to those looking to quit smoking.
  • The final series of packaging designs appeared to leverage cues associated with confectionary, sweets, energy drinks and cartoons. They expected that these designs were likely to appeal to people their age – 3rd and 4th year students in school. 

E-cigarette flavouring

  • Respondents highlighted flavours that they associated with existing tobacco products. It was expected that these flavours would appeal to current smokers or those looking to quit smoking.

These flavours offered the option of obtaining the taste and flavour that they can currently obtain from tobacco product.

  • The other three categories of flavours (Food, Fruits & Sweets) had no such links to tobacco products.

As a consequence, they saw less of a link to tobacco products and the idea of smoking cessation.

  • They believed these three categories were likely to appeal their age group as they were flavours often found in foods and beverages that appeal to them –product high in salt, sugar and fat. In the case of the sweets flavours, they made the strong link between confectionary that appeals to young people and these flavours. 

Statements about e-cigarettes 

  • People my age would be interested in trying an e-cigarette with sweet or fruity flavours rather than a tobacco-flavoured e-cigarette.

All 3rd and 4th year schoolchildren in the groups agreed with this statement.

  • Fewer people my age would use e-cigarettes if fruity, sweet, minty or desert flavours weren’t available

All 3rdand 4thyear schoolchildren in the groups agreed with this statement.

  • E-cigarette companies say that they design their packaging and advertising for adults only.

None of the 3rd and 4th year schoolchildren in the groups believed this statement.

  • E-cigarette companies say that sweet flavours like Candy Floss and Bubblegumare designed for adults only and are not intended to appeal to children.

None of the 3rd and 4th year schoolchildren in the groups believed this statement.

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