Bigger cigarette warning labels could stop millions from smoking

Updated: Jul 11, 2014, 15:17 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A new study suggests that smokers pay attention to the health warning about smoking when they see bigger text warning on cigarette packs.

Researchers suggest that the idea behind bigger warning labels is that the smoker’s eyes stay longer on bigger labels and they tend to remember the information for more time.

The survey of thousands of adult smokers in four countries found that small, text-only warning labels like those on cigarette packs in the US prompt people to think about health risks of smoking, and people who notice the warnings regularly are more likely to try to quit.

Larger, more graphic warning labels like those in other countries, such as Australia, were better at getting people's attention and motivating them to attempt quitting.

For smokers who said they paid attention to the labels, simply seeing them was enough to make them think about the health risks of smoking, which made them less likely to smoke.

People who didn't think much about the health risks were more likely to say that those risks were exaggerated. They were also more likely to say that they enjoyed smoking too much to give it up, according to the study.

However, smokers who consciously avoided the labels by covering them up or by keeping them out of sight still reported thinking often about the health risks and about quitting.

The study appeared in the journal Health Psychology.

(With Agency inputs)