Are Graphic Warnings on Cigarettes Effective?

logo1267406_mdA new study published in the journal PLOS ONE concluded that hard hitting graphic tobacco warnings may help smokers of diverse backgrounds who are struggling to quit. These are bold pictorial cigarette warning labels that visually depict the health consequences of smoking.

This is one of the first studies to evaluate the effectiveness of pictorial warning labels versus text-only labels across racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. In the study, the reaction to cigarette warning labels for over 3,300 smokers were examined. Results showed that hard hitting, pictorial graphic warnings are more effective than text-only versions, with smokers indicating the labels are more impactful, credible, and have a greater effect on one’s intent to quit smoking.  In addition, the stronger impact of pictorial warnings was similar across vulnerable populations, with consistent reactions across diverse populations.  The author said “The implementation of graphic warning labels appear to be one of the few tobacco control policies that have the potential to reduce communication inequalities accross groups.”

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