Effects on smokers of exposure to graphic warning images

Am J Addict. 2012 Nov-Dec;21(6):555-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2012.00284.x. Epub 2012 Sep 27.


Background and objectives: Several countries have introduced graphic warning images aimed at discouraging smoking. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact on smokers of graphic warnings showing cosmetically important harm caused by smoking.

Methods: Fifty-six adult smokers were randomly assigned to view either written smoking warnings or the same written warnings with related graphic images. The smokers viewed the warnings at a rate of one per week for 4 weeks. The smokers were assessed before and after the warnings with regard to stage of change toward smoking cessation and level of smoking.

Results: The randomized control trial showed that the warnings with graphic images led to significantly more progress in stage of change toward smoking cessation than written warnings alone. However, the images did not lead to decreases in smoking rates.

Conclusions and scientific significance: The results indicate that written smoking warnings accompanied by images of cosmetically important harm caused by smoking have more potential than warnings alone in prompting changes in the direction of quitting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Product Labeling / methods*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking / therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology