Horrible Cigarette Warnings May Work on Smokers: Study Health Info

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By Robert Preidt, Health Day reporter

(Health day)

MONDAY August 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Gangrene. Throat cancer. A newborn baby on a feeding tube.

Horrific warning images like those on cigarette packs do scare off smokers, but they should be combined with other anti-smoking measures, according to a new study.

These types of graphic warning labels were approved by US lawmakers in 2009, but implementation has been stalled until legal challenges to the law by the tobacco industry are resolved.

“Graphic warning labels are used in over 120 countries to counter marketing that encourages smoking. We wanted to know what effect such cigarette packaging would have on American smokers,” said study author David Strong. He is a professor in the School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD).

For the study, Strong and his colleagues assessed how 357 San Diego smokers responded to graphic warning labels used on cigarettes sold in Australia.

One of three types of cigarette packets was given to each of the smokers: a pack with a graphic warning label; a blank package; or in a standard US commercially available pack.

Those who received cigarettes in the standard pack or a blank pack had no change in their positive opinion of cigarettes, but there was a decline among those who received a pack with a graphic warning label, said. noted the investigators.

Health problems increased in all three groups, possibly because they were forced to think more often about the health consequences of smoking, the study authors noted in the report published online Aug. 4 in JAMA network open.

According to lead author of the study, Karen Messer, “While these labels make smokers more likely to think about quitting, it hasn’t made them more likely to make a serious attempt to quit, and it doesn’t. It was also not enough to help them stop their nicotine addiction. Messer is professor of biostatistics in the School of Public Health at UCSD.

“So graphic warning labels are an integral part of tobacco control strategies, but they are only a tool for governments to reduce the societal costs of death and disease caused by smoking,” Messer said in an academic press release.

SOURCE: University of California, San Diego, press release, August 4, 2021

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