The negative consequences of smoking pictured through negative graphic imagery influence smokers' intentions to quit, say researchers.
Their findings at the University of Arkansas, Villanova University and Marquette University, are based on a survey of more than 500 U.S. and Canadian smokers.
The most graphic images, such as those showing severe mouth diseases, including disfigured, blackened and cancerous tissue, evoked fear about the consequences of smoking and thus influenced consumer intentions to quit.
"These results suggest that there appears to be little downside on intentions to quit from using extremely graphic pictorial depictions of the negative health outcomes due to smoking," said Scot Burton, co-author of the study and marketing professor in the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
"Our research shows that strong, negative graphic imagery - and fear evoked from such imagery - influences smokers' intentions to quit. We also found this to be the case even though recall of the written messages on package labels was reduced by the more graphic images. In other words, smokers were influenced primarily by the images and not by the written message."
The researchers' study will be published in the fall issue of the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing.