New research published online in the scientific journal Addiction shows that plain packaging (requiring cigarettes to be packaged in standard packages without attractive designs and imagery) may help to draw the attention of some adolescent smokers to the health warnings on the package. If so, this may in turn deter young smokers from continuing to smoke.
Researchers asked eighty-seven teenage secondary school (high school) students from the city of Bristol, UK, to look at twenty images of cigarette packs on a computer screen for ten seconds each while a device tracked their eye movements. Some packs were plain, carrying only the name of the brand in a plain font and a standard pictorial health warning. The rest were the conventional and colourful packs of ten popular cigarette brands, which included the same health warnings.
Students who had never smoked paid attention to the health warnings on both plain and branded cigarette packets, while daily smokers tended to avoid looking at any health warnings at all. But students who were occasional (non-daily) smokers, or had tried smoking at least once, paid more attention to the health warnings on the plain packs than to those on the branded packs.
Compared with adults, adolescents are highly vulnerable to taking up smoking. Research has established that pictorial health warnings can discourage young smokers and that adolescents who forego a cigarette because of a health warning have a lower intention to smoke.
As a result of its plain-packaging legislation, the Australian government is facing an international trade dispute involving several tobacco companies and tobacco-producing nations. The results of this study will give the Australian government another piece of evidence in its favour, and something for other governments to consider as they contemplate plain-packaging legislation of their own.
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Surgeons in Australia say they have performed the first heart transplant using a "dead heart".
Ebola underlines the urgent need for a new way of responding to global epidemics, say Harvey Rubin and Nicholas Saidel
As researchers from Africa to China to America race to develop vaccines and treatments to fight Ebola, health experts are grappling with the economics of a disease that until this year had been off the drug industry's radar.
Is California's severe drought hurting the nutrient content of fruit? No, preliminary data on pomegranates suggest. The fruit may be smaller, but packed with more antioxidants, tests show.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to companies marketing products claimed to be cures for Ebola. One firm says it will drop such claims — but it's still selling the product.
Parents of baby with fatal mitochondrial disease say techniques being considered by select committee could prevent them having another seriously ill child
Ultrasound has been used to open the brain's protective sheath in people with aggressive brain tumours – to deliver chemo drugs directly to cancer cells
The World Health Organization says two vaccine candidates now undergoing small-scale tests of dosage and safety in people might be ready for broader deployment in Africa by early 2015.
Just because the Food and Drug Administration recalls a supplement because it contains dangerous substances, doesn't mean the product disappears from the market.
9 million new cases and 1.5 million deaths in 2013