Researchers from TCORS sought to determine the effectiveness of the tobacco warning labels as tobacco-related diseases and death rates continue to lead the charts.
Cigarette smoking and other tobacco-related habits continue to lead as the most common preventable diseases and deaths factor.
The battle against cigarette and tobacco smoking has imposed a series of rules and regulations and led to many campaigns. One of the best-known and most visible ones was the introduction of warning labels.
Cigarette packs have been required to present textual warning labels which present smoking risks since the 1960’s.
However, about 15 percent or 36.6 million adult American residents are reported cigarette smokers.
The TCORS or the Penn Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science has sought to determine the effectiveness of such cigarette warning labels.
In a study held at the Annenberg School of Communication, TCORS targeted to both determine their effectiveness and potentially increase it.
As such, the study found that the use of real-life smoker photos had a higher effectiveness rate when compared to textual only labels.
Their research results will be published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research. The study will be titled “Potential Effectiveness of Pictorial Warning Labels That Feature the Images and Personal Details of Real People”.
More than 77 nations at a worldwide level are currently using images and real photos so as to demonstrate the effects of smoking on cigarettes packs.
However, the United States is not amongst them. Back in 2011, the United States Food and Drug Associations or the FDA tried to roll out such a program.
It would have been part and mandated by the FSPTCA. FSPTCA or the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act would have targeted the release of pictorial warning labels.
As these pictorial images would have been placed as part of the tobacco products warning labels, the program was rejected. According to tobacco industry claims, the images were mostly emotional rather than factual representations.
Following the claims, the FDA withdrew the initial proposal and instead, started redesigning and rethinking the said labels.
As part of the redesign, the current study sought to determine the difference between textual and the future potential pictorial labels.
The TSOCR study tested images which showed the effect of smoking on real people. As opposed to the previous pictorial campaign, the real images have both an emotional and a factual appeal.
Emily Brennan, study lead author, Ph.D., and David Hill Research Fellow at the Australian Cancer Council Victoria went to offer details.
According to Brennan, the aim of the study was to determine the effectiveness levels of such real-life images on present smokers. The images showed the effects of both direct and how it affected those around.
During the study, the adult participants were presented with three types of warning labels. One type presented real photographs of people affected by smoking, amongst which some also had a text message.
Another type came in the form of the previous FDA pictorial labels. The third and final type were the current textual only labels.
Research aimed to determine their effect on the decision to quit smoking. In both initial and follow-up questions, the pictorial warning labels proved to be more useful.
Their effects were compared in terms of those trying and succeeding to quit smoking. The study also showed that the currently used images are just as effective as the previous ones, used by the FDA.
Researchers hope that their study, taken together with previous, similar ones, will lead to more useful warning levels.
According to a study statement, they are hoping that testimonial images may help lead to better warning labels. The study should also help reduce the pictorial labels’ vulnerability when taking into consideration their factual nature.
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