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Centre for Behavioural
Research in Cancer

Consumer warnings to counter tobacco reassurance marketing

Reassurance marketing promotes tobacco product attributes, brand variants or sensory experiences that mislead smokers into believing these offer reduced harm; in fact, they offer only the illusion of protection. This form of marketing has become increasingly important following restrictions on promotion of tobacco through the media, at point-of-sale, and on packaging. Examples include an explosion of descriptive variant names (‘smooth’ taste) on packs, cigarette filters that vary in appearance or taste, and more vigorous promotion of filter-venting and ‘natural’ roll-your-own tobacco. To limit the impact of these aggressive marketing strategies on smokers’ motivation to quit, this project will create a set of salient corrective messages on packs that explain why these specific product attributes do not reduce the likelihood of disease (Product Attribute Health Warnings (HWs)). In several linked survey, qualitative and experimental studies, this project is testing the efficacy of novel Product Attribute HWs compared to standard HWs and whether a video advertisement increases the effectiveness of Product Attribute HWs.

CBRC staff

Prof Melanie Wakefield, Dr Emily Brennan, Prof Sarah Durkin, Kimberley Dunstone, Claudia Gascoyne, Dr Michelle Scollo


A/Prof James Thrasher (University of South Carolina, USA), Prof Janet Hoek (University of Otago, NZ), Prof Neal Benowitz (University of California San Francisco, USA), Prof Jonathan Samet (University of Colorado Denver, USA), Prof Dorothy Hatsukami (University of Minnesota, USA)


NHMRC Project grant (1142981)


2018 - present