Market Research to Determine Impact of Plain Packaging on other tobacco products

Roll Your Own (RYO)

tobacco-plain-packaging-bill

Page last updated: 12 June 2012

The findings from this section of the report are drawn from the online quantitative survey (n=209). The quantitative results are supplemented by the short qualitative discussion on plain packaging conducted in the group discussions for the graphic health warning research.

About the Qualitative Sample


Two qualitative discussion groups were held in addition to the quantitative survey (see section 4.2 of this report for further details about the sample and methodology). These were used to explore some of the attitudes of RYO smokers to the issue of plain packaging and of how they viewed their own smoking behaviours. The findings from these shed some light on the quantitative survey results and will be discussed as appropriate throughout this section.

Overall, few participants had given the plain packaging issue much thought assuming that it would affect mostly pre-manufactured cigarette smokers. The lack of consideration for how it might be implemented on RYO packs may stem the little media attention this aspect has been given.

“You only hear about them talking about normal packs. I don’t think I’ve heard anything about roll your own really.”

There was in general low knowledge or active consideration of plain packaging. While the participants had heard of it there was a significantly less vehement reaction to the proposal than that recorded among cigarette smokers in previous studies, and among cigarillo smokers in this study. This somewhat reflects how RYO smokers view themselves apart from smokers of other types of tobacco, including that the proposed changes are really aimed at the pre-manufactured cigarette smokers who they feel are the main target.

“It’s not really for us, we’re getting swept up in it, but I think people have an issue with straight cigarettes which stink more and more people smoke. So that’s the target really. I hadn’t thought about it affecting us too much before.”

Compared with the cigar or cigarillo smokers, the RYO smokers taking part in the research were a much more uniform audience with relatively similar views, habits and behaviors in regards to their own smoking. The reasons why RYO smokers chose to smoke RYO cigarettes rather than premanufactured cigarettes that were consistently voiced by the majority of respondents include:

“A budget / cost analysis. RYO tobacco is cheaper than pre-manufactured cigarette packs and yield a greater number of cigarettes.”

“You get so much more for your money. I can get 40 or 50 cigarettes out of a pack for half of what that would cost me with pre-made ones.”

“Tailored cigarettes are so expensive! I get more out of my rollies for sure.”


The taste is preferable. In particular this was articulated in relation to being able to taste ‘the chemicals’ in pre-manufactured cigarettes, which led them state they significantly preferred RYO cigarettes.

“They taste so much better. Once you’ve had them for a while and you try and normal cigarette you can just taste the chemicals in them...pretty disgusting actually.”

Feeling ‘distinct’ from pre-manufactured cigarette smokers. RYO smokers felt themselves, in comparison to pre-manufactured cigarette smokers, to be ‘more relaxed’ and ‘easy going’.

“I think roll your own smokers are a bit more chilled out, less stressed. They probably enjoy it more too because you’ve actually got to bother to roll a cigarette you know, you can’t just pull it out the pack. If I actually bother to roll one I’m going to enjoy it you know.”

Duration. RYO cigarettes last longer than pre-manufactured cigarettes which many smokers enjoy and gives the feeling that they may smoke less because of it.

“They definitely last longer. I can have one while my friends have two normal ones.”

“I probably smoke less because they last longer I reckon.”


Overall Appeal


There was a clear divide between the packs in terms of appeal. Three packs, Mayfair (plain package), White Ox and Winfield Gold were seen to be the least appealing packs whilst Golden Virginia, Champion and Drum were the most appealing packs. The Mayfair (plain package) pack was seen to be the least appealing pack (6.7%). It scored significantly lower on appeal than three other packs, Drum (27.3%), Champion (21.7%) and Golden Virginia (21.0%). The relative appeal of the different packs was consistent across different age groups.

The overall appeal of the packs was also influenced by existing brand associations which became evident in the qualitative findings. In particular White Ox had extremely low appeal as a product and was felt to be one only consumed by people they would not want to be associated with. Most often this association was with prison populations and homeless people. It was also felt to be smoked by people who were highly addicted as it is known as an extremely strong tobacco.

“Hobos and prisoners smoke that...not for me, never, no thanks.”

“That stuff is so strong, you’re a proper addict if you smoke that.”


The Mayfair pack performed strongly on all the measures identified by the Department. It was seen as highly unappealing and unattractive. Equally, as will be demonstrated below, the quality of cigarette was deemed as likely to be very low. The plain packaging colour and design, described as ‘dull’, ‘tar-like’ and ‘uninteresting’ was primarily responsible for this perception of low quality. This was tied to the level of perceived harm to health which was high.

Table 5.2.1: RYO Overall Pack Appeal

Pack
Study RYO
Total
(n=209)
%
Age 18-24
years
(n=61)
%
Age 25-44
years
(n=79)
%
Age 45-65
years (n=69)
%
Mayfair (plain
package)
6.7
5.6
7.8
5.0
White Ox
11.6
10.8
11.2
12.5
Winfield Gold
11.7
16.6
11.9
9.6
Golden Virginia
21.0>
17.7>
20.9>
22.4>
Champion
21.7>
22.1>
22.3>
20.3>
Drum
27.3>
27.2>
25.8>
30.2>

P1A. Looking at these three roll you own tobacco packs, please indicate which pack you think is the... Most appealing overall and the Least appealing overall? Composite score calculated using both most and least scores ˆˇSignificantly higher / lower than other age groups at 95% c.i. > Significantly higher than Mayfair (plain package) at 95% c.i.

The table above shows the Maximum-Differences scores for each branded pack. Each score is a composite score that is calculated based on the proportion that selected the pack as 'most' or 'least' on the dimension measured compared to the other packs. In the table, the packs with the lowest percentage scores are those that were less likely to be selected as 'most appealing' and more likely to be selected as 'least appealing'. So the Mayfair (plain package) pack which had the lowest percentage score overall (6.7%) was seen to be the least appealing whilst the Drum (27.3%), Champion (21.7%) Golden Virginia pack (21.0%) had the highest scores and were therefore more appealing. Significance testing has also been applied.7

Quality of Cigarettes


In line with appeal, three packs, Mayfair (plain package), White Ox and Winfield Gold were seen to contain the lowest quality cigarettes. Golden Virginia, Champion and Drum, the packs which were seen to be most appealing were also seen to contain higher quality cigarettes.

As shown in the table below, across the total sample, the Mayfair (plain package) pack was seen to contain the lowest quality cigarettes (8.0%). The White Ox pack was also seen to contain lower quality cigarettes (10.6%) compared to the other packs. The packs which were seen to contain the highest quality cigarettes were Champion (23.9%), Drum (22.6%), Golden Virginia (21.1%) and these packs scored significantly higher than the Mayfair (plain package) pack on perceived quality.

There were some statistical differences observed for the different age groups. Older RYO smokers aged 45-65 years old were even more likely to consider the Mayfair (plain package) pack to have lower quality cigarettes with a score of 4.4% compared to 8.0% across the total sample.
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Table 5.3.1: RYO Quality of Tobacco

Pack
Study RYO
Total
(n=209)
%
Age 18-24
years
(n=61)
%
Age 25-44
years
(n=79)
%
Age 45-65
years (n=69)
%
Mayfair (plain
package)
8.0
5.7
10.3ˆ
4.4ˇ
White Ox
10.6
11.9
9.7
11.7
Winfield Gold
13.9
22.9>ˆ
13.8
11.0
Golden Virginia
21.1>
18.3>
21.0
22.4>
Drum
22.6>
20.0>
20.6ˇ
27.3ˆ>
Champion
23.9>
21.3>
24.6>
23.3>

P2A. Now you are going to see another six screens with the same roll your own cigarette packs. We’d now like you to indicate which pack looks like it contains the... Highest quality and Lowest quality roll your own cigarettes? Composite score calculated using both most and least scores ˆˇSignificantly higher / lower than other age groups at 95% c.i. > Significantly higher than Mayfair (plain package) at 95% c.i.

The qualitative findings reveal that the plain pack colour and design was largely responsible for the perception that the quality of cigarettes or tobacco would be very low in the Mayfair pack. The drab dark brown colour was off putting and communicated to respondents that the product contained within would likely be of poor quality.

“It doesn’t make you think ‘smoke me, I’ll be good’. It’s off putting and looks like it’ll probably just be rubbish in there.”

Harm to Health


In line with previous findings from earlier plain packaging research, darker colours, in this case White Ox, Mayfair (plain package), were seen to be more harmful to health than lighter colours.8 There is also evidence of a link between appeal, quality and perceived harm. Those packs seen to be less appealing and contain lower quality cigarettes (Mayfair (plain package), White Ox and Winfield Gold) were also seen to be more harmful.

As shown in the table below (Table 5.4.1), the White Ox pack was seen to contain the most harmful cigarettes (25.6%) although this score was not significantly higher than Mayfair (plain package) (20.0%). The Mayfair (plain package) was seen to contain the second most harmful cigarettes. In comparison to Mayfair, there were differences in the scores that indicated that Champion (13.2%), Golden Virginia (13.0%) and Drum (9.9%) contained less harmful cigarettes, however only the Drum pack had significantly lower scores on harm to health.

There were no significant differences in the pack evaluation ratings of perceived harm to health across the age groups. The only exception observed was for younger 18-24 year olds who rated the Winfield Gold pack lower on harm to health than the other age groups did (12.0% compared to 18.3% across the total sample).

The qualitative finding that White Ox holds some extremely negative brand associations goes some way to explaining why it was perceived as more harmful to health than the Mayfair. However, that it only does so by a small margin is testament to the perceived low quality of the tobacco, which is often equated to harm, that the plain pack would contain.

Overall, White Ox was felt by respondents to only be smoked by highly addicted smokers who most likely smoked heavily. It is also known as a very strong tobacco and as such was felt by most to be the most harmful, both by its strong nature and because of the behavioural habits of those that smoke it.

Table 5.4.1: RYO Perceived Harm to Health

Pack
Study RYO
Total
(n=209)
%
Age 18-24
years
(n=61)
%
Age 25-44
years
(n=79)
%
Age 45-65
years (n=69)
%
White Ox
25.6
29.0
26.0
23.7
Mayfair (plain
package)
20.0
17.8
20.6
19.5
Winfield Gold
18.3
12.0ˇ
17.8
21.7
Champion
13.2
14.4
13.8
11.6
Golden Virginia
13.0
13.7
12.2
14.3
Drum
9.9>
13.1
9.6>
9.2

P3A. Now you are going to see another six screens with the same roll your own cigarette pack. We’d now like you to indicate which roll pack looks like it contains roll your own cigarettes that are the...Most harmful and the Least harmful to health? Composite score calculated using both most and least scores ˆˇSignificantly higher / lower than other age groups at 95% c.i. > Significantly lower than Mayfair (plain package) at 95% c.i.

Ease of Quitting


This question was open to a degree of interpretation. In previous research, including the earlier plain packaging studies on manufactured cigarettes, those packs that were seen to be less appealing, have lower quality cigarettes and higher perceived harm to health were also seen to be harder to quit. This was not as consistent when talking to RYO smokers in this study. The qualitative discussions made clear that some respondents would answer this question thinking about which brand is easiest to quit as the one they felt least palatable and would least want to smoke themselves. Others thought about the questions in regards to which brand they felt was the most ‘addictive’ and therefore hardest to quit.

This may account for why there were no packs that emerged as being perceived particularly easier or harder to quit. Quantitatively, across all the packs tested, there were no statistically significant differences in the pack evaluation ratings for perceived ease of quitting, as shown in Table 5.5.1 below.

While not statistically significant, the Mayfair (plain package) was seen to contain the cigarettes that would be the hardest to quit.

Interestingly, the White Ox pack, which was seen to perform similarly to the Mayfair (plain package) pack in terms of having low appeal, lower quality cigarettes and higher harm to health, was seen to be the ‘easiest’ of the packs to quit (15.0%) (although again this was not statistically significant). In the qualitative discussions with RYO smokers it emerged that White Ox has some specific brand associations which likely explain why it was seen as being easier to quit.

“That’s what you smoke if you’re in lock up.”

“It’s just dirty. It’s so strong, you only hear about prisoners or bums smoking that.”


As such respondents talked about it as something less palatable which they would avoid and therefore be easier to quit. Those that felt it would not be easy to quit based this on the strength of the tobacco. Therefore, it scored as ‘easier’ to quit than Mayfair as it was so undesirable but still gathered some scores of being hard to quit as it was seen as ‘strong’ and therefore ‘addictive’ or more likely smoked by ‘addicted’ smokers who would find it hard to give up.

Overall both the qualitative and quantitative findings suggest that respondents were likely to see all RYO cigarettes as being hard to quit. There is an acknowledgement that tobacco products are addictive and therefore by their nature hard to quit.

Table 5.5.1: RYO Perceived Ease of Quitting

Pack
Study RYO
Total
(n=209)
%
Age 18-24
years
(n=61)
%
Age 25-44
years
(n=79)
%
Age 45-65
years (n=69)
%
Mayfair (plain
package)
18.2
20.1
16.7
20.5
Drum
17.2
14.9
18.8
15.0
Golden Virginia
17.1
16.1
19.2ˆ
13.7ˇ
Winfield Gold
17.1
19.8
15.2
19.9
Champion
15.3
14.0
15.6
15.2
White Ox
15.0
15.1
14.5
15.8

P4A. Now you are going to see another six screens with the same roll your own cigarette pack. We’d now like you to indicate which pack looks like it would contain roll your own cigarettes that would be... Easiest to quit and Hardest to quit Composite score calculated using both most and least scores ˆˇSignificantly higher / lower than other age groups at 95% c.i. > Significantly lower than Mayfair (plain package) at 95% c.i.

Noticeability of Health Warning


The scores for ‘noticeability of health warning’ suggest that there were no pack designs in which the health warning stood out significantly more or less than the others. This is not a surprising finding in that all packs featured a 75% coverage health warning, coverage that is considerably larger than current health warnings and which dominates the space on the front of the pack. The Mayfair (plain package) pack did not appear to have a health warning that stood out more or less than any of the other packs, as shown in the table below (Table 5.6.1).

At 75% health warning coverage, there was also no evidence that higher contrast between the background pack colour and health warning would result in higher noticeability of the health warning. Champion with a yellow pack was seen to have the health warning that stood out the most (17.5%) meanwhile Winfield Gold which also had a lighter coloured background was seen to have the health warning that stood out the least (15.4%), as shown in the table below (Table 5.6.1).

There was only one age group which showed significantly different perceptions in terms of the noticeability of health warnings. Relative to other age groups, younger smokers aged 18-24 years old were less likely to consider the Drum pack (14.5%) as having a health warning that stood out.

Table 5.6.1: RYO Noticeability of Health Warning

Pack
Study RYO
Total
(n=209)
%
Age 18-24
years
(n=61)
%
Age 25-44
years
(n=79)
%
Age 45-65
years (n=69)
%
Mayfair (plain
package)
17.5
17.7
16.7
19.1
Drum
17.5
14.5ˇ
17.8
17.9
Golden Virginia
17.3
18.7
17.7
16.1
Winfield Gold
16.5
16.7
17.2
15.2
Champion
15.7
14.2
15.2
17.3
White Ox
15.4
18.2
15.5
14.4

P5. Now looking at these six cigarette packs, we'd like you to indicate how noticeable the graphic health warnings are on each of these packs. That is, whether there are any differences in how much the graphic health warning stands out on these different packs. To do this, we'd like you to allocate a score based on the notice-ability of each pack so that all scores add to 100. ˆˇSignificantly higher / lower than other age groups at 95% c.i. > Significantly lower than Mayfair (plain package) at 95% c.i.


7 Significance testing has been applied to show significant differences between the Mayfair (plain package) pack compared to other packs. The solid triangle denotes that a pack scored significantly higher than the Mayfair (plain package) pack.
8 Study 2 Plain packaging research and Study 5 Face-to-face Plain packaging research.



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