Graphic warning labels reduce demand for cigarettes

Graphic warning labels reduce demand for cigarettes

Will graphic cigarette package warning labels significantly reduce demand? A new study suggests it will.

Current US policy requires that cover 50 percent of one side of a cigarette pack with a text warning. But the FDA recently unveiled nine new cigarette , which include of lung and mouth cancer, to be unveiled in September 2012.

A sample of 404 adult smokers from four states participated in an experimental auction on cigarette packs with four different kinds of warning labels. All packs carried the same message: smoking causes mouth cancer.

The first pack featured a text-only message on the side of the pack, the current US policy. The second had a text-only message that covered 50 percent of the lower half of the front, back and one side of the pack. A third had the same text message, but with a photo depicting . The fourth package had the same text and graphic photo, but was a mostly unbranded pack, meaning all color and symbolic brand elements were removed except for the brand's font, size and descriptors.

"We found that the label with just the front text warning had little effect on consumers," says study co-author Matthew Rousu, professor of economics at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. "However, demand was significantly lower for packs with grotesque images, with the lowest demand associated with the plain, unbranded pack."

The bids for that had a grotesque photo and no brand imagery received bids that were 17 percent lower than the bids for the package with the current US warning label.

"Results from our study suggest that the new with graphic pictures will reduce demand for cigarettes," says Rousu, who conducted the study with James F. Thrasher, David Hammond, Ashley Navarro and Jay R. Corrigan.

"Regulators should also consider health warnings with graphic pictures, but also plain packaging policies for ," he adds. "Color and brand imagery can support false beliefs about reduced risks of some brands."

What their study can't address is how the new labels will affect non-smokers. "One would assume that it would also have an impact on non-smokers, that some of those people will not start smoking because they are turned off by the images," says Rousu.

The study, "Estimating the impact of pictorial health warnings and 'plain' cigarette packaging: Evidence form experimental auctions among adult smokers in the United States," appears in the September 2011 issue of the journal Health Policy.

Provided by Dick Jones Communications

5 /5 (1 vote)

Related Stories

Cigarette packaging needs to change, study says

May 18, 2011

The messages that cigarette pack labels convey to smokers and nonsmokers have been evaluated by Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) researchers in three studies published in the June 2011 issue of the American Journal of ...

Recommended for you

High-calorie and low-nutrient foods in kids' TV

15 hours ago

Fruits and vegetables are often displayed in the popular Swedish children's TV show Bolibompa, but there are also plenty of high-sugar foods. A new study from the University of Gothenburg explores how food is portrayed in ...

Chemical companies shore up supplement science

15 hours ago

As evidence mounts showing the potential health benefits of probiotics, antioxidants and other nutritional compounds, more and more people are taking supplements. And the chemical industry is getting in on the action. But ...

More Americans in their golden years are going hungry

15 hours ago

In a country as wealthy as the United States, it may come as a surprise that one in 12 seniors do not have access to adequate food due to lack of money or other financial resources. They are food insecure.

User comments