Gross out approach is encouraging smokers to quit
Graphic warning labels that have graced Canadian cigarette packages since 2000 are working in the fight against smoking, according to a study of 622 adult smokers living in southwestern Ontario.
At least one-fifth of the smokers surveyed said the warning labels, which feature color photographs of some of the negative health effects of smoking, have led them to cut down on smoking or quit altogether.
The labels have come under criticism for being too graphic and having no effect on current smokers, but the recent study shows emotions such as fear and disgust lead to less smoking.
"Overall, the current research suggests that policy-makers should not be reluctant to introduce graphic cigarette warning labels based on potential adverse outcomes," the study's authors wrote.
"Rather, short of exaggerating the risks of smoking or crossing the bounds of public decency, warning labels should adopt vivid and striking features that increase their salience among smokers."
From: "Graphic Canadian Cigarette Warning Labels and Adverse Outcomes: Evidence from Canadian Smokers." Contact: David Hammond, Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
American Journal of Public Health
The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association, the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world. APHA is a leading publisher of public health-related books and periodicals promoting high scientific standards, action programs and policy for good health. More information is available at http://www.apha.org.