Graphic Warning Labels in Cigarette Ads Most Effective

Significantly increased percentage correctly recall graphic warning versus text-only labels

TUESDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- For smokers, graphic warning labels in advertisements improve recall of warning and health risks, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Andrew A. Strasser, Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues assessed the differences in recall and viewing patterns of text-only versus graphic cigarette warning labels. Two hundred current daily smokers were randomized to view text-only or graphic warning labels in cigarette advertisements. Viewing patterns were assessed using eye-tracking, and recall was evaluated later.

The researchers found that the percentage of correct recall of the warning label differed significantly for those in the text-only versus graphic label group (50 versus 83 percent). Correct recall correlated significantly with the time to first viewing of the graphic warning label text and dwell time duration on the graphic image. Better recall was seen for warning labels that drew attention more quickly and resulted in longer dwell time.

"Results from the current study demonstrate the effectiveness of graphic warning labels in cigarette advertisements in increasing recall of warning label-based smoking risks," the authors write. "Graphic warning labels should be incorporated into cigarette advertisements without delay; not doing so only prolongs an overdue, necessary improvement to U.S. tobacco control."

Full Text

Physician's Briefing