Plain Cigarette Might Underline Graphic Warnings

May 30th, 2011 09:19

A recent study in England revealed that non-smokers and regular smokers paid more attention to graphic warnings on cigarette packages that didn’t have any branded labels. According to the specialists, the results may back initiatives several countries are considering that would take away branded labels to underline graphic warning on cigarette packages. Smokers, however, seemed resistant from the change in package, and considered equally the graphic warning and the product information, despite of whether it was with plain or branded labeling.

The specialists checked the eye movements of 43 people as they looked at cigarette packages that had either branded information or plain packaging, each coupled with pictorial health warnings. When looking at branded cigarette packs, which included colors, graphics and embedded lettering, non-smokers and heavy smokers split their glance equally between the brand part of the pack and graphic warning. For instance on packages that had a plain black front only the name of the brand and 20 cigarettes, non-smokers and heavy smokers looked at the graphic warning more frequently.

Non-smokers looked 16 times at the graphic warnings compared to 12 times at the product information. Smokers in their turn, continued to look either on the health warning (13 times) or on the plain information (14 times). Dr. Marcus Munafo, the chief researcher of the research stated that the given results could demonstrate smoker’s familiarity with health warnings. In the United Kingdom it was demanded to place pictorial graphic warning of damaged lungs on all tobacco products.

Plain Cigarette warning

“Reiterated exposure to health warnings on cigarette packages might signify that heavy smokers should be able to disregard the automatic tendency to concentrate on plain packages or simply ignore them,” Munafo stated. On the other hand the given results could mean that smokers are paying more attention to the plain information because they are not used to seeing that on cigarette packages, stated Dr. Jim Thrasher, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina. Non-smokers and heavy smokers might be more affected by the exaggerated attention the pay to health warnings on plain packages.

Summarizing their findings they declared that plain packages will raise the affect of health warnings in people who have yet to obtain a smoking habit, and who are potentially more exposed to influence. “If you do not look at a graphic warning it won’t affect your behavior, but if you do it, then it may have an effect,” Munafo said. Thrasher declared that “it is very important to analyze the influence of various labels on cigarette packages, mostly at a time when governments are prompting these changes.”

“If we create a health label policy than we should know more about the continuous effects of these policies,” he stated.

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