Bidis are not easily accessible within Australia. It was very difficult to source product for use as examples for the design of stimulus materials, despite specialist and specific Indian tobacconists being contacted. Anecdotal feedback suggested that tobacco bidis may no longer be imported for retail. Eventually, a small number of packages were sourced directly from India.

Similarly, there was very limited knowledge of bidis throughout the group discussions with cigarillo / little cigar and roll you own tobacco smokers. Even when the product was shown to respondents, very few claimed to have seen them before. Questions were asked as to whether they were herbal or clove cigarettes.

Although initially it was intended to test a number of different permutations of health warnings for bidi packaging, only one version was included in the testing. This resulted from consultation in the design process which concluded that this was the only way the three elements of image, headline and copy would adequately fit the packaging and remain legible. This version included all elements of a graphic health warning, that is, warning message, image and explanatory message.

Figure 7.6.1: Bidi packaging

Image A: 'Lung cancer' health warning featuring image of lung cancer and text warning with red and black backgrounds for bidi packaging.

Smokers found it difficult to understand the health message in the format tested. Impact was limited due to the need to turn the package to read the warning, and the image was difficult to decipher with the curvature of the package. The size and shape of the bidi packaging did not allow for exposure to all the elements of the health message in a manner that contributes to greater impact and understandability of the message. Instead the clutter of the elements detracted from overall message takeout.

Multiple elements of the health warning will not be supported by bidi packaging given its small size and shape. The warning is likely to be more impactful if only one element is used. The most effective element for single use will be the warning message, as research with other products suggested that images by themselves lack impact without an accompanying message. Further the curvature of the pack will distort the image making it more difficult to decipher and minimising message understanding.

For maximum impact, it may be beneficial to use a vertical format for the warning message, rather than horizontal (around the pack). This means smokers only have to look at one panel to see the whole message, increasing immediate communication and impact.

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