A new study in UK has found that the graphic cigarette warnings on labels are not effective. In the Tobacco Control journal, the findings of a study was published that showed implemented warnings on cigarette labels in UK rendered ineffective.
How the Study Was Conducted
United Kingdom was the third country from the European Union that required graphic cigarette warnings at the back of cigarette packs. This started in October of 2008. Yet, a few years after this decision was approved, a study showed that the purpose of such label warnings are not effective and not fulfilling the goal for which it is aimed at.
In the conducted repeat, cross sectional survey, the participants were 11- 16 year old Britons, between the time of August and September of 2008 and again in 2011.
In the Two incidents, same text warnings were seen on the labels on cigarette packs in 2008 and in 2011. The 2011 packs differed with the addition of graphic images.
The factors assessed by the study were salience (noticing and looking closely at the warnings), processing depth (thinking about the warnings seen or read and discussing what were seen with other people), comprehension/ credibility (comprehensibility, truthfulness and believability), unaided recall, avoidance techniques (like hiding the cigarette packs), persuasiveness (warnings to prevent smoking) and also behavioral indicator (declining to smoke because of the warnings seen).
It was found that for newer smokers, their warning persuasiveness and their thinking of the label warnings when they see the pack has a significant increase from year 2008 to 2001. Yet, how they understand what the warnings tell them has decreased.
Experimental smokers showed critical increase on warning persuasiveness, believing what are seen in the graphics and believing them to be true. Meanwhile for regular smokers, there were no important changes observed from 2008 to 2011 apart from hiding the packs so as not to see the warnings and also dwindling of warning salience.