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article imageCan cigarette packaging deter smoking?

By Tim Sandle     Jun 19, 2012 in Science
A new psychological study from the U.S. indicates that having health warnings on cigarette cartons helps to make smokers more aware of the ill-health effects associated with smoking.
A US study has shown that graphic health warning labels on cigarette packaging aids smokers' recollection of the ill-health message. The research was undertaken by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
For the research, according to Daily RX, a team from the University assessed 200 current smokers. In the trial the smokers were shown either a text-only warning label or one featuring an image of a patient on a ventilator. It was found that those who viewed the graphic label spent more time looking at the advert, as well as being more able to accurately recall the associated message when asked to repeat it from memory.
Dr Andrew Strasser, associate professor for the university's department of psychiatry, is quoted in Time as saying: "This research provides valuable insight into how the warning labels may be effective, which may serve to create more effective warning labels in the future."
The outcomes of the research were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The paper concluded “Graphic warning labels improve smokers' recall of warning and health risks; these labels do so by drawing and holding attention.”
Previous studies from Europe and Canada have also shown a link between graphic labels and altered attitudes to smoking.
Earlier this year, in the UK, Cancer Research published a study raising concerns that colorful, slickly-designed cigarette packaging is encouraging young people to take up the habit.
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