Plain Cigarette Packaging

Cigarette packaging may make labels more effective

(RxWiki News) There are a lot of occasional smokers out there. And, they seem to be more open to accepting the fact that cigarettes are unhealthy than daily smokers.

A recent study showed that only daily smokers ignore health and warning labels completely. Occasional smokers were found to spend more time looking at the warning label on plain cigarette packaging.

"Read the warning labels to help quit smoking."

Marcus Munafo, PhD, professor of biological psychology, and Olivia Maynard, PhD candidate, at the University of Bristol in the UK, led an investigation into cigarette packaging.

Researchers asked 85 students from three different high schools to participate in the study.

The group consisted of 24 never-smokers, 34 smoked on occasion, 13 weekly smokers and 14 daily smokers.

Researchers showed the students 20 images of cigarette packages, for ten seconds each, to see where their eyes looked on the package.

They tracked the number of eye movements to the health and warning labels and simple brand names on plain packs and ten regularly branded unaltered packs.

Results of the study found that the students were more likely to look at the health and warning labels on the plain packs than the regularly branded ones.

For the regularly branded packs, occasional and weekly smokers looked at the health and warning label on the simple packs more than on the regular packs.

The daily smokers avoided looking at the health and warning labels on both packs.

And, the never smokers looked mostly at the health and warning labels of both packs equally.

The findings in this study may influence future laws that surround cigarette packaging regulations around the world. If on-the-fence smokers are deterred from developing a full-blown habit by simplifying the packaging, laws may change in the future.

This study was published in August in the journal Addiction. No funding information was given and no conflicts of interest were found.

Review Date: 
August 10, 2012