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The association between smokers’ perceived importance of the appearance of cigarettes/cigarette packs and smoking sensory experience: a structural equation model



We assessed the reliability of a measure of the latent construct “smoking sensory experience.” We further measured the relationship between “smoking sensory experience” and smokers’ rating of the importance of the appearance of cigarettes/cigarette packs in brand choice and smoking dependence.


Analyses involved a national sample of smokers (n = 633) who participated in the 2010 South African Social Attitudes Survey (N = 3,112). Smokers ranked on a scale of 1-5, the importance of the following attributes in choosing their cigarette brand: health concerns, cost, packaging, taste, satisfaction, and flavor/strength. Using structural equation modeling, an a priori model was specified based on the hypothesis that taste, satisfaction, and flavor/strength are measures of a construct of “smoking sensory experience” and that cigarette packaging would be positively related to “smoking sensory experience.” Furthermore, “smoking sensory experience” would be positively related to cigarettes smoked per day.


The latent construct–“smoking sensory experience” was considered reliable (Cronbach’s α = 0.75). The structural equation model confirmed that the specified model fitted the data well (goodness of fit index = 0.993; normed fit index = 0.978; root mean square error of approximation = 0.031). Higher “smoking sensory experience” was positively associated with increasing cigarettes smoked per day (β = 0.12). Higher rating of the cigarette package in brand choice positively covaried with both “smoking sensory experience” (β = 0.29), and higher rating of health considerations (β = 0.42).


These findings support the regulation of the appearance of cigarettes/cigarette packs to reduce cigarettes’ appeal and abuse liability in line with Article 11 of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

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