Claims of Reduced Odor on Tobacco Packs in Low-and Middle-Income Countries

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Introduction: Cigarettes designed to have less smoke smell were developed by the tobacco industry to supposedly reduce negative qualities. Cigarettes with marketing claims communicating these designs have been sold in high-income countries and marketing of "less smoke smell"terms on cigarette packaging can promote cigarette use. It is unclear to what extent they have been marketed in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). Aims and Methods: The Tobacco Pack Surveillance System (TPackSS) systemically collected tobacco packs available in 14 LMICs with high tobacco use between 2013 and 2017. We coded 4354 packs for marketing appeals, including claims related to smoke smell. We describe "less smoke smell"and similar claims found on these packs and compare across country and tobacco manufacturers. Results: Phrases communicating less smoke smell were present on packs purchased in nine of 14 LMICs, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Ukraine, and Vietnam. The most commonly (74.1%) used terminology was "less smoke smell,""LSS,"or a combination of the two. Packs from Russia had the most prevalent use (11.8%) of such claims. Companies using these terms across 21 brands included Japan Tobacco International (JTI), British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International (PMI), and other smaller companies. JTI accounted for 70.9% of packs with such terms. Conclusions: Some of the world's largest tobacco companies are communicating less smoke smell on packs in LMICs. Less smoke smell and similar phrases on packaging should be prohibited because they can enhance the appeal of cigarettes. Implications: Tobacco companies are using "less smoke smell"and similar phrases on cigarette packs in LMICs. These claims have the potential to increase the appeal of smoking and promote cigarette use. Countries should consider policies to restrict attractive labeling claims, in accordance with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 13 guidelines, which recommends restrictions on attractive design elements on tobacco packaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-279
Number of pages5
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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