Plain packaging increases visual attention to health warnings on cigarette packs in non-smokers and weekly smokers but not daily smokers

Addiction. 2011 Aug;106(8):1505-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03430.x. Epub 2011 Apr 11.


Aims: To assess the impact of plain packaging on visual attention towards health warning information on cigarette packs.

Design: Mixed-model experimental design, comprising smoking status as a between-subjects factor, and package type (branded versus plain) as a within-subjects factor.

Setting: University laboratory.

Participants: Convenience sample of young adults, comprising non-smokers (n = 15), weekly smokers (n = 14) and daily smokers (n = 14).

Measurements: Number of saccades (eye movements) towards health warnings on cigarette packs, to directly index visual attention.

Findings: Analysis of variance indicated more eye movements (i.e. greater visual attention) towards health warnings compared to brand information on plain packs versus branded packs. This effect was observed among non-smokers and weekly smokers, but not daily smokers.

Conclusion: Among non-smokers and non-daily cigarette smokers, plain packaging appears to increase visual attention towards health warning information and away from brand information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing / methods
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Product Packaging*
  • Research Design
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Young Adult