Tobacco Packaging Design in China, Thailand, and New Zealand: A Comparative Study


Cigarette packaging design
Tobacco control
Health communication

How to Cite

Zhang, X. “Tobacco Packaging Design in China, Thailand, and New Zealand: A Comparative Study”. Mutual Images Journal, no. 11, Dec. 2023, pp. 171-92, doi:10.32926/2023.11.9.


Packaging design has received much interest from the academic and industrial worlds. Numerous studies have shown that packaging significantly impacts purchase intent, product satisfaction, and repeat purchases. However, to some extent, tobacco packaging is not used to fulfil its consumer target’s demands or increase the repeat purchase rate. By contrast, it has the official duty to discourage tobacco use, as it is a highly regulated business. Nevertheless, tobacco manufacturers do their best to find the last opportunity to advertise on tobacco boxes because the packet is their final or only marketing or advertising tool in many countries. Thus, tobacco packaging design could be the most challenging advertising practice in many nations because two contradicting advertising contents (persuasion and dissuasion) emerge in one medium simultaneously. In this paper, I comparatively content-analysed 65 popular cigarette brands from China, Thailand, and New Zealand to find out how tobacco companies use cigarette packaging to communicate with their customers. The results suggested that Chinese tobacco packaging is highly market-oriented and emphasises the use of traditional Chinese cultural elements. Conversely, tobacco packaging in Thailand and New Zealand focuses on health communication. But warning labels in the two countries are platitudes. The results also indicate that although policy factors have had a positive impact on tobacco packaging in terms of its discouraging function and contributing to tobacco control over the past decades, there is a need for policies to be tailored to the socio-cultural context. Efforts should focus on improving tobacco packaging from the perspective of smokers’ psychology. This adjustment is deemed necessary due to the declining effectiveness of current tobacco packaging control policies in reducing smoking rates in recent years.
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