Text-only health warnings have appeared on cigarettes for over 35 years in the United States. Despite these warnings, smoking still causes over 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. To reduce smoking and its associated health impacts, the United States Food and Drug Association recently proposed the inclusion of 13 different graphic warning images with accompanying text that depict some of the negative health consequences of smoking on cigarette packaging. The Food and Drug Administration’s proposal raises the question of whether graphic images are more effective than text-only messages at preventing or reducing smoking. This week, ASHES reviews an article, available online through open access, by Olivia Maynard and her colleagues that looked at how effective tobacco health warning labels with graphic health images are at preventing smoking.
What was the research question?
Which types of tobacco health warning labels are most believable and effective in changing smoking attitudes and behaviors?