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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid