Scottish young people's perceptions of standardised packs - a qualitative study
Andy Macgregor 1  
,  
Amanda Amos 2
,  
Douglas Eadie 3
,  
Jamie Pearce 4
,  
Martine Stead 3
,  
 
 
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1
ScotCen Social Research, United Kingdom
2
University of Edinburgh, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, United Kingdom
3
University of Stirling, United Kingdom
4
University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Publish date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A734
KEYWORDS
WCTOH
 
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ABSTRACT
Background:
Standardised cigarette packs were introduced into the UK in May 2016. Retailers could sell old stock until May 2017 after which only the sale of cigarettes and tobacco in standardised packs was allowed. As in Australia, pack shape, colour, opening mechanism and font are regulated, together with the size and position of health warnings and number of cigarettes in a pack. This paper explores Scottish young people's awareness of and views about standardised packs in Spring 2017.

Methods:
The DISPLAY study is a five year study established to evaluate the national tobacco point-of sale (POS) promotions ban in four communities in Scotland. This paper is based on the qualitative component, annual focus groups carried out with Secondary 2 (13 year olds) and Secondary 4 (15 year olds) students in four secondary schools. 16 groups (82 students) convened in February - March 2017 explored students' perceptions of standardised packaging.

Results:
There was a high level of awareness of standardised packs prior to their full implementation. Smokers had bought them, and they and other participants had seen them in possession of friends and family members, and in litter. Participants' views of the new packaging were generally negative, described as unappealing and depressing, particularly the pictorial health warnings. Packs were compared unfavourably with previous non-standardised versions. However, there was no consensus on their likely impact. Some participants argued that their impact would be widespread, while others thought that any impact would be confined to young non/occasional smokers and that established smokers would be unaffected.

Conclusions:
In early 2017 young people in Scotland had high awareness and knowledge of standardised tobacco packs before their full implementation. Despite differing views about their likely impact on youth smoking, participants irrespective of smoking status overwhelmingly regarded them as unattractive and less appealing than non-standardised packs.

eISSN:1617-9625