Adding Images to Cigarette Cartons

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Adding Images to Cigarette Cartons

In the United States, all cigarette cartons are labeled with a warning about the effects of smoking. This warning states that smoking can cause numerous diseases, including but not limited to lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease. But this warning does not stop people from buying the cigarettes and continuing to smoke.

Many people believe the warnings need to be more dramatic and eye-catching. Some have suggested putting images along side of the text warnings directly on the packages. The images would consists of nicotine-filled lungs, decaying teeth, facial scars, etc.

A Washington State University Vancouver psychologist decided to test this idea through a study. The participants of the study included both smoking and non-smoking people between 18 and 25 years of age in 48 states. They were given an online survey asking how much they know about cigarettes and how much they learned about the dangers from them through just a written warning label. The first group of participants completed the survey in their psychology courses while the second were recruited through a survey service.

Each group reported that both images and text as a warning has a more significant impact and is more educational. Participants stated that the combination of images and texts gave them more of an understanding of the risks They also claimed that they would be more likely to not smoke if the label was very basic and understandable.

On the other hand, they reported that text only labels would have less of an impact on whether or not they would purchase and smoke the cigarettes.

Consumers and physicians are urging tobacco companies to add images to their cartons to show the true side effects of their products.