Effectiveness of cigarette warning labels: examining the impact of graphics, message framing, and temporal framing

Health Commun. 2015;30(1):81-9. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2013.841531. Epub 2014 Mar 14.


This study examines the effectiveness of cigarette warning labels, with a specific focus on the impact of graphics, message framing (gain vs. loss), and temporal framing (present-oriented vs. future-oriented) among nonsmokers in the United States. A controlled experiment (N = 253) revealed that graphic warning labels were perceived as more effective, stronger in argument strength, and were generally liked more compared to text-only labels. In addition, loss-framed labels, compared to their gain-framed counterparts, were rated higher in perceived effectiveness, argument strength, and liking. No significant difference was observed between the present- and future-oriented frames on any of the dependent variables. Implications of the findings for antismoking communication efforts are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthracenes
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Computer Graphics
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • New England
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Product Labeling / methods*
  • Smoking
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Students
  • Tobacco Industry
  • Universities
  • Young Adult


  • AnOV compound
  • Anthracenes