Can applying messages to cigarettes dissuade us from smoking?

Two academics from Bangor University's renowned Business School have been applying their knowledge of marketing and managerial studies to investigate a new medium for getting the no-smoking message across- the cigarette itself.

Dr Hassan and Prof. Shiu published a piece of research in the journal Tobacco Control that explored an innovative extension of the frontier in anti-tobacco policy initiatives by governments.

The world has seen successively more restrictive measures in place, such as a ban on tobacco advertising, mandatory text and pictorial on pack, various clear air acts limiting places where smoking is allowed, and more recently the removal of branding information on cigarette packaging with the plain packaging legislation implemented in some countries such as Australia. However, the cigarette stick design has by and large remained unchanged and free of promotional or product information, as well as health warnings.

Hassan and Shiu's research examined the potential of health warnings printed on the cigarette stick through two related studies. Prior research shows that smokers have shorter life expectancy by around 14 years, with a typical cigarette 'costing' 11 minutes of life lost. Based on these past findings, cigarettes (photograph in Study 1 and a 'real' one in Study 2) were created and shown to smokers in Hassan and Shiu's research. The mock-up cigarette displayed 11 minute time lines together with the warning that "each puff reduces your life expectancy by …" Results of both studies show a significant increase in smokers' quit intentions after exposure to the mock-up cigarette (6.9 % in Study 1, and 15.7% in Study 2). Hassan and Shiu's research is timely given the move towards plain packaging, with strong incentive for tobacco companies to relocate branding information on to the cigarette stick. The research also has wider impact as despite bans on the sale of single cigarettes, this practice is still prevalent in parts of the world.

Dr Hassan commented: "This is only the start in the investigation of the potential of including a health message on the cigarette stick and there needs to be much more research in this area to understand the tangible benefits that might arise."

More information: "No place to hide: two pilot studies assessing the effectiveness of adding a health warning to the cigarette stick." Louise M Hassan, Edward Shiu. Tob Control, 13 December 2013 DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051238

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

AMA examines economic impact of physicians

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

5 hours ago

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

User comments