The dispute between health and market: a communicational analysis of the cigarette package in Argentina
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Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES), Argentina
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A208
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Cigarette package is among the most effective communication tools, not only used by the tobacco industry to market their products but also maximized by governments to warn the population about tobacco use and exposure risks.
The objective of the was to analyze from a sociosemiotic perspective the discourse enunciated in the cigarette packages.

We analyzed cigarette package communicational features: colours, typography, dimensions, phrases, images present in the industry marketed side of the package and also in the health warnings. We selected a convenient sample of the 3 most popular brands in Argentina that contained the 10 current pictorial health warning implemented in 2016. Texts were analyzed from a lexical, syntactic, morphologic and social perspective and images also from their chromatist characteristics.

Health warnings occupied the 50% of the front and back package surface (23.65 squared centimeters), accomplishing national regulations. Their text had a role in limiting the imaging power of the picture. Together configure the discourse emitted in the health warnings. Infinitive verbs were usually used in the absence of a specific subject addressing a wide audience. Tobacco industry uses the other 50% with each brand identity, segmenting the targeted population with different communicational features, appealing to legacy, exclusiveness, funny and esthetic designs pursuing consumers' attention. We observed a conflicting coexistence of two contradictory discourses (health vs. market)

An equal distribution of marketed and health warned sides of the packages could be confusing to the population and could undermine the real effectiveness of the public health intervention. Policymakers should also consider the communicational advantages to deliver the message of increasing the size of health warnings.