News / Health

    Study: Graphic Photos on Cigarette Packages Prevents Smoking

    Possible Cigarette Warning LabelPossible Cigarette Warning Label
    x
    Possible Cigarette Warning Label
    Possible Cigarette Warning Label
    The more graphic the better is the conclusion of a new study of warnings on cigarette packages.  A team at the University of South Carolina in the United States analyzed what kind of warning labels deter adults from smoking.

    “Smokers rated warning labels with pictures and text to be stronger in terms of their believability, their relevance to smokers themselves and in terms of their effectiveness than the warnings that only contain text,” said the lead investigator, James Thrasher of the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the university's Arnold School of Public Health.

    The team's findings will appear in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

    More than 40 countries have implemented health warning labels with pictures.  “The warnings that were more graphic, that show physical damage of smoking on the body were more effective than other kinds of imagery, such as showing human beings suffering the impacts of smoking or more symbolic or abstract imagery like, for example, showing tombstones to represent death that could be caused by smoking,” Thrasher said.

    Pictures are the key

    Smokers with low literacy rated pictorial labels as more credible than text-only warnings -- a major finding for developing countries with high illiteracy and smoking rates.

    But researchers also found that smokers eventually become desensitized to even the most graphic imagery on packages, such as photographs of diseased organs.

    “These warnings wear out over time, no matter what kind of content you have on them -- whether they're text only or whether they include these more graphic images or more symbolic, abstract images,” explained Thrasher.  “The WHO [i.e., World Health Organization] recommends that the warnings are refreshed on a regular basis, about every two years or so.  We're beginning to conduct the research to try to figure out what is the best period of rotation.”

    Australia has taken matters a step farther.  It recently became the first country to mandate plain packaging.  That move is being hailed by WHO Director General Margaret Chan.  Speaking at a six-day global tobacco control conference in Seoul, Chan urged civil societies in other countries to get their governments to require packaging without brand logos.  “It peels off the glamour of a package full of harm and replaces it with the truth.  It will have vast benefits for health,” she said Monday at the opening of the Fifth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

    Price trumps labels

    Anti-smoking advocates say that even more important than labeling to prevent smoking, is making tobacco products more expensive.

    “The price of tobacco products in most countries in the world is still incredibly low,” said Francis Thompson, director of policy and advocacy at the Geneva-based Framework Convention Alliance.  “And that's the single biggest thing that countries could do to bring back [i.e., reduce] consumption rapidly and deal with this really quite rapid rise in tobacco-caused deaths around the world.”

    The Seoul meeting on Tuesday discussed guidelines on pricing and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco.

    Delegates from 170 countries on Monday unanimously approved a treaty to crack down on illicit cigarette manufacturing and distribution.  The accord will require non-removable tracing mechanisms on cigarettes and other tobacco products.  Smuggling and counterfeiting of cigarettes account for an estimated 11 percent of global tobacco trade.

    The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has been ratified by 176 countries since coming into force in 2005.  The The United States, a leading producer of tobacco, and seven other countries have signed, but not ratified the treaty.  Ten countries have not signed it, including Indonesia -- a major tobacco consumer with an estimated 57 million smokers.

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora