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Study Suggests New Graphic Cigarette Package Warnings Should Reduce Demand

By Join Together Staff

New cigarette labels required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that will carry graphic images of the consequences of smoking should have the desired effect of reducing demand, a new study suggests.

The study included 404 adult smokers who took part in an auction on cigarette packs, with four kinds of warning labels, UPI reports. All of the packs carried the message that smoking causes mouth cancer. The first pack had a text-only message on the side of the pack, similar to what is currently on U.S. cigarette packs. The second pack had a text-only message covering 50 percent of the lower half of the front, back and one side. The third pack had the same message as the second pack, but also included a photo of mouth cancer. The fourth pack had the same text and photo as the third pack, but with most of the recognizable brand imagery removed.

The researchers found the packs with text-only warnings had little effect on consumer demand. Demand was significantly lower for packs with the photos. Consumers were the least attracted to the plain, unbranded pack, the researchers report in the journal Health Policy.

"Results suggest that prominent health warnings with graphic pictures will reduce demand for cigarettes," the researchers wrote. "Regulators should not only consider this type of warning label, but also plain packaging policies for tobacco products."