Evaluating Smokers' Reactions to Advertising for New Lower Nicotine Quest Cigarettes

Published in: Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, v. 20, no. 1, Mar. 2004, p. 80-84

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by William G. Shadel, Caryn Lerman, Joseph Cappella, Andrew A. Strasser, Angela Pinto, Robert Hornik

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Quest cigarettes are a relatively new (2003) product that has been marketed as a way for smokers to gradually reduce the nicotine they receive from cigarettes in order to, according to marketing materials, become nicotine free. However, despite lower levels of nicotine, Quest cigarettes do not have reduced tar levels and, thus, still pose health hazards. This study evaluated beliefs about Quest cigarettes following exposure to a single print advertisement among 200 regular smokers who had never heard of the brand itself. Descriptively, smokers made several specific false inferences about Quest cigarettes after exposure (i.e., lower in tar, healthier, less likely to cause cancer). Two individual-differences variables, need for cognition and perceived vulnerability, moderated smokers' health beliefs about Quest cigarettes.

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