Objective: To examine the perceived effectiveness of text and pictorial smokeless tobacco health warnings in India and Bangladesh, including different types of message content.
Methods: An experimental study was conducted in Navi Mumbai, India (n=1002), and Dhaka, Bangladesh (n=1081). Face-to-face interviews were conducted on tablets with adult (≥19 years) smokeless tobacco users and youth (16-18 years) users and non-users. Respondents viewed warnings depicting five health effects, within one of the four randomly assigned warning label conditions (or message themes): (1) text-only, (2) symbolic pictorial, (3) graphic pictorial or (4) personal testimonial pictorial messages.
Results: Text-only warnings were perceived as less effective than all of the pictorial styles (p<0.001 for all). Graphic warnings were given higher effectiveness ratings than symbolic or testimonial warnings (p<0.001). No differences were observed in levels of agreement with negative attitudes and beliefs across message themes, after respondents had viewed warnings.
Conclusions: Pictorial warnings are more effective than text-only messages. Pictorial warnings depicting graphic health effects may have the greatest impact, consistent with research from high-income countries on cigarette warnings.
Keywords: Low/Middle income country; Non-cigarette tobacco products; Packaging and Labelling.
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