Natural American Spirit brand preference among smokers with mental illness
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Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States
Anna E. Epperson   

Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, 1265 Welch Road, Suite 300, 94305- 5411 Stanford, CA, United States
Publish date: 2018-09-17
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(September):42
Despite a steady decline in the US smoking prevalence over the past 50 years, Natural American Spirit cigarettes (NAS), marketed as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’, have seen a 400% rise in sales. In a sample of smokers with mental illness, based on previous research, we hypothesized that preference for NAS would be associated with younger age, higher education, and a stronger health-orientation.

Material and Methods:
Adult smokers were interviewed during acute psychiatric hospitalization in California between 2009–2013, reporting their preferred top three brands of cigarettes, smoking behaviors, self-rated health, and dietary and physical activity behaviors. The sample (N=956; Mean age=38.7 years, SD=13.5; 48.7% women) identified as 14.5% Hispanic ethnicity, 49.6% White, 23.7% African American, and 23.8% other.

NAS was identified as a top preferred brand by 15.2% of the participants and was the fourth most popular brand for the sample overall. In a multivariate logistic regression, preference for NAS was significantly greater among participants who were younger (OR=0.97), had some college education or more (OR=2.64 to 4.31), ate a low-fat diet (OR=1.56) and reported better overall health (OR=1.26), with p<0.05. Identifying as Hispanic (OR=1.80) or White (OR=3.00) also predicted NAS preference, p<0.05. NAS preference did not differ by gender or psychiatric diagnosis.

Study findings indicate greater NAS brand appeal among smokers living with mental illness who are younger, more highly educated, and have a stronger orientation to health, perhaps because they perceive NAS to be a ‘healthier’ cigarette to smoke. Marketing language that obscures the harms of smoking ought to be prohibited.

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