Cigarette "Taste Test" Snuffed Out

Australia's 1992 Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act prohibited most forms of tobacco advertising, making it more difficult for tobacco companies to promote their products. Despite the law, an Australian market-research firm called Feedback Plus was found to be distributing free cigarettes in a program it said was a "taste-testing survey" being carried out as part of a "marketing research" program. Participants received free, unbranded packs of cigarettes that carried only a health warning, were told to take them home, smoke them and fill out a survey. Participants received A$50 per survey and up to 200 free cigarettes per week, for up to six to eight weeks. Once the cigarette give-away was discovered, the Federal Health Department reprimanded the marketing research firm and the program was shut down. Feedback Plus distributed an email about the survey last November in which it sought smoking and non-smoking participants, and said that all "had a chance at winning an instant $200 cash."