Pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages in qatar: preimplementation awareness and perceptions of ever-smokers versus never-smokers

Nicotine Tob Res. 2013 Oct;15(10):1765-72. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntt059. Epub 2013 May 3.


Introduction: Studies have demonstrated that pictorial health warnings (PHWs) on cigarette packages were significantly associated with increased awareness of smoking-related health hazards and behavior change. A new legislation on PHWs was recently endorsed and PHWs have recently been introduced in Qatar. This study aims to evaluate the general public's awareness, beliefs, and perceptions on antitobacco PHW labels on cigarette packs prior to the implementation of the new regulation.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey using a pretested 23-item questionnaire was conducted among randomly approached adults in Qatar. Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS(®) version 19. Demographic characteristics and other outcomes of interest were compared using chi-square or Fisher's exact tests.

Results: A total of 500 participants (59% male) responded to the survey. Most notably, ever-smokers did not significantly differ from never-smokers on awareness of PHW. About one third of the respondents had no idea about any specific text warning messages on tobacco products sold and nearly 45% of them did not know what a PHW was. Furthermore, a substantial proportion (more than 20%) of the respondents in both groups did not believe that introducing PHWs will enhance smoking behavior change. Nonsmokers generally tended to have more positive attitudes than smokers toward perceived impact of PHWs.

Conclusion: These findings suggest the needs for increased awareness about the value of PHWs and call for further research to determine the effectiveness of PHW labels on cigarette packages in Qatar and greater Middle Eastern region, where legislations on PHWs are still at infancy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Awareness
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Product Labeling / methods*
  • Qatar
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Young Adult