Factual warnings most effective

| December 14, 2016

US cigarette warning labels featuring photos of real smokers who were harmed by their habit are more effective in getting smokers to quit than the text-only labels currently in use, according to a ScienceDaily story citing a new study by researchers at the Penn Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science at the Annenberg School for Communication.

In addition, the study showed that the ‘testimonial images’ were equally as effective as the photo-based labels that the Food and Drug Administration tried to impose previously.

Although at least 77 nations around the world use images as a part of their cigarette warning labels, the US does not.

In 2011, the FDA was poised to roll out a series of graphic warning labels for use on tobacco products as mandated by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

However, a legal challenge by the tobacco industry led to the labels being rejected, in large part because they were found to be emotional rather than factual.

The FDA withdrew their original labels and began to rethink the labels.

The new study, Potential Effectiveness of Pictorial Warning Labels That Feature the Images and Personal Details of Real People, which was due to be published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, was aimed at helping with this rethink.

The research team hopes that the data from their study, along with findings from similar studies, will lead to the adoption of more effective warning labels.

‘The use of testimonial images,’ they write in the study, ‘may help to minimize how vulnerable the next iteration of warning labels in the United States are to legal challenges based on the factual nature of the messages’.

The ScienceDaily story is at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161212105317.htm

Category: Breaking News

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