About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Smoking Warning Works When Put on Front of Cigarette Pack

by Kathy Jones on September 5, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Font : A-A+

 Smoking Warning Works When Put on Front of Cigarette Pack

New research indicates that big anti-smoking messages on the front of cigarette packets may help deter youngsters tempted by tobacco.

Touching on a subject that has stirred controversy in countries where pro- and anti-tobacco lobbies are fighting over smoking controls, investigators looked at data from a large survey among British teenagers.


More than a thousand 11- to 16-year-olds took part in the survey, which unfolded in two waves, in 2008 and a followup in 2011.

In 2008, cigarette packets sold in Britain had large text warnings on the front and back.

In 2011, these were joined by anti-smoking pictures on the back panel of the pack.

Between two-thirds and three-quarters of respondents in the survey had never smoked.

Between 17 and 22 percent had experimented with cigarettes.

Around one in 10 were already "regular" smokers, defined as smoking at least one cigarette a week.

All were asked if they recalled the text message or the picture, and say which warning was likely to discourage them from smoking.

The most commonly recalled messages were the two types of general warnings on the packet front.

"Smoking kills" was remembered by 58 percent in 2008, while "Smoking seriously harms you and others around you" by 41 percent.

These rates fell to 47 percent and 25 percent respectively in 2011.

In contrast, the more specific text messages on the back of the pack were recalled by less than one percent of participants both 2008 and 2011.

Recall of the back-of-the-pack images was generally below 10 percent in both waves.

The exception was three scary pictures of rotting teeth, diseased lungs and neck cancer, for which recall increased between 2008 and 2011, reaching a maximum of 33 percent for the diseased lung image.

The research say the pictures had most effect on "never" or experimental smokers.

But the impact was negligible on regular smokers -- except to prompt some of them to buy special "hiding packs" to mask the nasty images.

"As warnings need to be salient to be effective, positioning pictorial warnings only on the less visible reverse panel limits their impact," says the study.

"While recall was high at both waves for pack-front (text) warnings, it was low -- below 10 percent -- for the pictorial warnings on the pack reverse, fear-appeal pictures aside."

The study, appearing in the specialist journal Tobacco Control published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), also points to the "wear-out" factor, of text and visual warnings that go unchanged for years and fail to make an impact on regular smokers.

More than 60 countries now require pictorial health warnings on packs, according to the paper.

In five countries -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Sri Lanka and Uruguay -- the law stipulates that they cover 75 percent of the main surfaces.

European Union (EU) countries must follow a 2001 directive that gives one of two general warnings covering 30-35 percent on the pack front, and 14 specific warnings, covering 40-50 percent of the reverse.

There are also 42 possible images that member states can use on the reverse of packs.

Less than half of the EU's member-states have adopted these pictorial warnings, and none has warnings covering 50 percent of the main pack surfaces overall, a guideline set by the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO).

Source: AFP

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
First-Ever Successful Pig-To-Human Kidney Transplantation
World Osteoporosis Day 2021 -
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Health Hazards of Smoking Smoking And Cancer Smoking And Tobacco Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Bubbles and Brews - Alcohol Facts Smoking Smoking among Women Cigarette Smoking - A Silent Killer Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Leriche Syndrome 

Recommended Reading
Cigarette Smoking - A Silent Killer
Smoking kills the smoker silently, pushing him towards serious illnesses, which slowly lead to ......
Smoking among Women
Tobacco use in women is on the rise. The health risks of tobacco are far too many has never done a ....
Health Hazards of Smoking
Smoking causes many diseases and affects the overall health of smokers....
Bubbles and Brews - Alcohol Facts
There is more to alcohol than mere intoxication. Infamous because of its social abuse but indispensa...
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
COPD includes respiratory tract disorders that cause obstruction to airflow. These are chronic br...
Leriche Syndrome
A patient with Leriche syndrome suffers from claudication symptoms, impotence and decreased pulses i...
Smoking And Cancer
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of cancer in the world....
Smoking And Tobacco
Encyclopedia section of medindia briefs you about the History of Tobacco...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use