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Title: Investigating the effects of plain tobacco packaging on visual attention and behaviour
Author: Maynard, Olivia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 0823
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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Rationale. Plain (or standardised) packaging would mean standardising the size, shape and colour of cigarette packs, removing all branding, leaving only the brand name in a standard font and location. In what have been predominantly qualitative studies, prior research has shown that plain packaging makes the health warnings more noticeable, reduces the appeal of the pack and prevents people from being mislead about the health risks of smoking. However, this research has been criticised by the tobacco industry for lacking in credibility. Methods. Using a series of experimental methodologies such as eye-tracking, attentional bi~s paradigms, brain imaging and randomised controlled trial design, the research conducted here is some of the first to use objective bio-behavioural measures to investigate the impact of plain packaging on visual attention and behaviour. Results. This research explores the attentional mechanisms underlying visual attention to cigarette packaging and finds that plain packaging can increase visual attention to health warnings among non-smokers and non-established smokers, but not among daily smokers, who actively avoid warnings. Furthermore, this research shows that even among dependent daily smokers, using plain packaging in the ' real-world' leads to changes in behaviour and attitudes to smoking. Conclusions. Overall, this thesis provides important information on how cigarette packaging can be used to increase attention to health warnings and more generally, on the mechanisms which guide attention to tobacco branding and health warnings. Beyond these scientific implications, the work conducted here has already had an impact on tobacco control policy. It was included in the European Commission's Tobacco Products Directive and has also been used by both the UK and Australian governments in their reviews of the evidence supporting plain packaging. These data support the view that plain packaging should be introduced in the UK.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available