Graphic warnings increase thoughts of quitting

Public Health

19 Mar 2015

The introduction of graphic health warnings on cigarette packs has increased intentions to quit, a study from Melbourne shows.

The survey of 5,000 adult smokers found evidence that smokers were more likely to show short-term increases in quitting intentions, and to engage in quitting behaviours after implementation of the packaging changes.

Smokers surveyed as standardised packaging was being implemented were most likely to report that they intended to try to quit smoking in the next month (odds ratio 1.42, when compared with smokers at the very start of the study), reported the authors in Tobacco Control.

Smokers surveyed in the first year of the new packs were more likely to conceal their packs from view (odds ratio 1.65), stub out their cigarette prematurely (odds ratio 1.55) and attempt to quit (odds ratio 1.52) compared to smokers who completed the surveys before standardised packaging was introduced.

The findings “provide some of the strongest evidence to date” that standardised packaging with larger graphic health warnings are associated with increased rates of thinking about quitting and attempting to quit amongst adult smokers, the researchers concluded.

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