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Keywords:

  • Aboriginal;
  • health warnings;
  • packaging;
  • smoking;
  • tobacco policy;
  • product labelling

Abstract

Objectives: To assess the impact of plain packaging with larger graphic health warnings on perceptions of risk and prestige related to different cigarette brands among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Capital Territory. We hypothesised that the changes would decrease perceptions that ‘some cigarette brands are more harmful than others’, and that ‘some brands are more prestigious than others’, and this would be stronger among participants aged ≤35 years, and among smokers compared with non-smokers.

Methods: Participants completed the survey prior to packaging changes, and were followed up 12 months later (n=98). Repeated measures ANCOVAs assessed perception changes.

Results: Following plain packaging implementation, there was a significant reduction in perceptions that ‘some cigarette brands are more harmful than others’. There was no overall change in perceptions of prestige. However, there was a significant interaction for age. Analyses indicated a reduction in perceptions that ‘some cigarette brands are more prestigious than others’ among younger participants (p=0.05), but no change among older participants (p>0.20). There was no interaction for smoking status for perceptions of prestige, indicating smokers' and non-smokers' perceptions did not differ on this measure.

Conclusions: These findings provide support for the packaging changes.