Smoker perceptions of health warnings on cigarette packaging and cigarette sticks: a four-country study

Drovandi, Aaron, Teague, Peta-Ann, Glass, Beverley, and Malau-Aduli, Bunmi (2019) Smoker perceptions of health warnings on cigarette packaging and cigarette sticks: a four-country study. Tobacco Induced Diseases, 17. 23.

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Innovations in tobacco control interventions are required to ensure continued reductions in global tobacco use, and to minimise attributable morbidity and mortality. We therefore aimed to investigate the perceived effectiveness of current cigarette packaging warnings and the potential effectiveness of cigarette-stick warnings across four countries.

METHODS: An online survey was distributed to adult smokers in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Participants rated (using a 5-point Likert scale) and commented on the effectiveness of current cigarette packaging warnings and text warnings on eight cigarette sticks that prompted smokers to quit. Ratings were analysed using proportional odds logistic regression, and comments were analysed using content analysis.

RESULTS: Participants (N=678, mean age=44.3 years) from all four countries perceived cigarette packaging warnings as being minimally effective in prompting smokers to quit, citing desensitisation and irrelevance of the warnings, with US participants particularly critical of the text-only warnings. Compared to packaging warnings, the cigarette-stick warnings describing the financial costs of smoking and the effect of smoking on others, were the highest rated in all four countries (OR=3.42, 95% CI: 2.75-4.25, p<0.001 and OR=2.85, 95% CI: 2.29-3.55, p<0.001, respectively) and cited as strong messages to reduce smoking. Half of the participants either 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' to the use of cigarette-stick warnings.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study suggest that cigarette packaging warnings may experience a loss of effectiveness over time, eventually resulting in minimal impact on smoker behaviour. Health and non-health focused warnings and messages on individual cigarette sticks represent a novel and potentially effective method for reducing tobacco use. This would complement tobacco control interventions currently employed, resulting in public health benefits.

Item ID: 58272
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1617-9625
Keywords: health behavior, health promotion, public health, tobacco control
Copyright Information: © 2019 Drovandi A. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Funders: Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship, College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 15 May 2019 07:33
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920414 Substance Abuse @ 50%
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