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.