Objective: Evaluate the impact of the first pictorial health warning labels (HWLs) on cigarette packs in Mexico.
Materials and methods: Cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of 1 765 adult smokers from Guadalajara, Mexico, 2010. Logistic regression models were estimated to determine the association between recall of having purchased a pack with a pictorial HWL and psychosocial variables indicating their impact.
Results: 58% reported having purchased a pack with one of the pictorial HWLs, and these were considered the exposed population. Exposed smokers reported a greater frequency of thinking about smoking-related risks (34 vs. 25% p=0.003), and thinking about quitting smoking (23 vs. 14% p=0.001). Exposure to pictorial HWLs was also associated with a greater acceptability of HWLs as a means of communicating with smokers (93 vs. 87% p<0.001), as was the perception that the government communicates well about tobacco-related health risks (68 vs. 55% p<0.001).
Conclusion: Pictorial HWLs have made smokers think more about these risks and about quitting smoking. This policy should continue to be exploited as a cost-effective educational intervention.