Graphic Canadian cigarette warning labels and adverse outcomes: evidence from Canadian smokers

Am J Public Health. 2004 Aug;94(8):1442-5. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.8.1442.


Objectives: We assessed the impact of graphic Canadian cigarette warning labels.

Methods: We used a longitudinal telephone survey of 616 adult smokers.

Results: Approximately one fifth of participants reported smoking less as a result of the labels; only 1% reported smoking more. Although participants reported negative emotional responses to the warnings including fear (44%) and disgust (58%), smokers who reported greater negative emotion were more likely to have quit, attempted to quit, or reduced their smoking 3 months later. Participants who attempted to avoid the warnings (30%) were no less likely to think about the warnings or engage in cessation behavior at follow-up.

Conclusions: Policymakers should not be reluctant to introduce vivid or graphic warnings for fear of adverse outcomes.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Audiovisual Aids / standards*
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Education / standards
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Negativism
  • Nicotiana*
  • Ontario
  • Product Labeling / methods*
  • Product Labeling / standards
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Smoking* / adverse effects
  • Smoking* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires