Extending health messaging to the consumption experience: a focus group study exploring smokers' perceptions of health warnings on cigarettes.
ABSTRACT: Introduction: While most countries require health warnings on cigarette packs, the Scottish and Canadian Governments are considering requiring health warnings on cigarette sticks. Methods: Twenty focus groups were conducted in Glasgow and Edinburgh (Scotland) with smokers (n = 120) segmented by age (16-17, 18-24, 25-35, 36-50, >50), gender and social grade, to explore perceptions of cigarettes displaying the warning 'Smoking kills' on the cigarette paper and any demographic differences in how smokers responded to these. Results: A warning on each cigarette was thought to prolong the health message, as it would be visible when a cigarette was taken from a pack, lit, left in an ashtray, and with each draw, and make avoidant behavior more difficult. That it would be visible to others was perceived as off-putting for some. It was felt that a warning on each cigarette would create a negative image and be embarrassing. Within several female groups they were viewed as depressing, worrying and frightening, with it suggested that people would not feel good smoking cigarettes displaying a warning. Within every group there was mention of warnings on cigarettes potentially having an impact on themselves, others or both. Some, mostly younger groups, mentioned stubbing cigarettes out early, reducing consumption or quitting. The consensus was that they would be off-putting for young people, nonsmokers and those starting to smoke. Conclusions: Including a warning on each cigarette stick is a viable policy option and one which would, for the first time, extend health messaging to the consumption experience.
Project description:This on-line experiment examined whether the addition of ingredient- or industry-themed warning statements in television advertisements for e-cigarettes would affect young adults' craving for and risk perceptions of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, as well as intent to purchase e-cigarettes.Advertisements for two leading e-cigarette brands were edited to contain a warning statement about product ingredients or about the tobacco industry. Participants were assigned randomly to one of eight treatments or one of two brand-specific control conditions without any warning statement.Young adults (n=900, aged 18-34?years) in a web panel were recruited from three groups: recent e-cigarette users, current smokers who used combustible cigarettes exclusively and non-users of either product.Craving and risk perceptions (addictiveness, harmful to health in general, harmful to others) were measured separately for e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes. The Juster scale measured intention to purchase e-cigarettes.Exposure to both types of warnings was associated with lower craving for e-cigarettes among e-cigarette users and smokers who experienced any craving (P<0.01) and lower intention to purchase among all participants (P<0.001). Only exposure to ingredient-themed warnings was associated with lower craving for combustible cigarettes (P<0.05). Participants who saw industry-themed warnings reported greater perceptions of general harm (P<0.001), but also rated e-cigarettes as less addictive than the control conditions (P<0.05).The addition of ingredient- or industry-themed warning statements to e-cigarette television advertising similarly reduces craving and purchase intent for e-cigarettes, but has inconsistent effects on perceived risks.
Project description:Introduction:The cigarette stick is an important communications tool as well as the object of consumption. We explored young adults' responses to cigarettes designed to be dissuasive. Methods:Data come from a cross-sectional online survey, conducted in September 2015, with 16- to 24-year-old smokers and nonsmokers (N = 997) in the United Kingdom. Participants were shown images of a standard cigarette (white cigarette paper with imitation cork filter), a standard cigarette displaying the warning "Smoking kills" on the cigarette paper, and an unattractively colored cigarette (green cigarette paper and filter). They were asked to rate each of the three cigarettes, shown individually, on eight perception items, and to rate the three cigarettes, shown together, on how likely they would be to try them. Ordering of the cigarettes and questions, with the exception of the question on trial, was randomized. Results:The eight perception items were combined to form a composite measure of cigarette perceptions. For smokers and nonsmokers, the two dissuasive cigarettes (cigarette with warning, green cigarette) were rated significantly less favorably than the standard cigarette, and less likely to encourage trial. For cigarette perceptions, no significant interaction was detected between cigarette style and smoking status or susceptibility to smoke among never smokers. A significant interaction was found for likelihood of trying the cigarettes, with dissuasive cigarettes having a greater impact with smokers than nonsmokers. Conclusions:This study suggests that dissuasive cigarettes may help to reduce the desirability of cigarettes. Implications:The cigarette stick is the object of tobacco consumption, which is seen every time a cigarette is smoked. It is also an increasingly important promotional tool for tobacco companies. In this study, young adults rated two dissuasive cigarettes (a green colored cigarette and a cigarette displaying a health warning) more negatively than a standard cigarette, and considered them less likely to encourage product trial. Our findings suggest that it may be possible to reduce the desirability of cigarette sticks by altering their design, for example, with the addition of a warning or use of an unattractive color.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:It is unclear whether warnings on electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) advertisements required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will apply to social media. Given the key role of social media in marketing e-cigarettes, we seek to inform FDA decision making by exploring how warnings on various tweet content influence perceived healthiness, nicotine harm, likelihood to try e-cigarettes, and warning recall. METHODS:In this 2 × 4 between-subjects experiment participants viewed a tweet from a fictitious e-cigarette brand. Four tweet content versions (e-cigarette product, e-cigarette use, e-cigarette in social context, unrelated content) were crossed with two warning versions (absent, present). Adult e-cigarette users (N = 994) were recruited via social media ads to complete a survey and randomized to view one of eight tweets. Multivariable regressions explored effects of tweet content and warning on perceived healthiness, perceived harm, and likelihood to try e-cigarettes, and tweet content on warning recall. Covariates were tobacco and social media use and demographics. RESULTS:Tweets with warnings elicited more negative health perceptions of the e-cigarette brand than tweets without warnings (p < .05). Tweets featuring e-cigarette products (p < .05) or use (p < .001) elicited higher warning recall than tweets featuring unrelated content. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first study to examine warning effects on perceptions of e-cigarette social media marketing. Warnings led to more negative e-cigarette health perceptions, but no effect on perceived nicotine harm or likelihood to try e-cigarettes. There were differences in warning recall by tweet content. Research should explore how varying warning content (text, size, placement) on tweets from e-cigarette brands influences health risk perceptions. IMPLICATIONS:FDA's 2016 ruling requires warnings on advertisements for nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, but does not specify whether this applies to social media. This study is the first to examine how e-cigarette warnings in tweets influence perceived healthiness and harm of e-cigarettes, which is important because e-cigarette brands are voluntarily including warnings on Twitter and Instagram. Warnings influenced perceived healthiness of the e-cigarette brand, but not perceived nicotine harm or likelihood to try e-cigarettes. We also saw higher recall of warning statements for tweets featuring e-cigarettes. Findings suggest that expanding warning requirements to e-cigarette social media marketing warrants further exploration and FDA consideration.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>This paper is concerned with the effects of cigarette pack warning labels on quitting intentions. We examined whether different responses among smokers toward cigarette pack warning labels could predict quit intentions and self-efficacy in quitting. Variables studied were "noticing warning labels during last month," "reading or looking closely at warning labels," "avoiding looking at labels during last month," "thinking about health risks of smoking because of the warning labels, "more likely to quit because of the warning labels," and "stopping from having a cigarette when about to smoke one because of the labels."<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 2,006 adult smokers in Malaysia were surveyed in face-to-face interviews using a standardized questionnaire. Of those, 1,919 male smokers were included in the analyses.<h4>Results</h4>The responses "more likely to quit because of the warning labels" and "stopped from having a cigarette when about to smoke one" significantly predicted all stages of change and self-efficacy, independent of the other measures. In addition, thinking about the health risks and reading the warnings more often added extra predictive capacity but only in the early stages of contemplating change.<h4>Discussion</h4>Less intense processing of the information may be important in initiating thoughts, but cognitions about quitting and foregoing cigarettes are the key mechanisms by which warnings stimulate quitting intentions and help smokers feel capable of succeeding. Malaysian smokers appear to respond to warnings in ways comparable with those from developed countries.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The European Commission requires tobacco products sold in the European Union to display standardized text health warnings. This article examines the effectiveness of the text health warnings among daily cigarette smokers in four Member States.<h4>Methods</h4>Data were drawn from nationally representative samples of smokers from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project surveys in France (2007), Germany (2007), the Netherlands (2008) and the UK (2006). We examined: (i) smokers' ratings of the health warnings on warning salience, thoughts of harm and quitting and forgoing of cigarettes; (ii) impact of the warnings using a Labels Impact Index (LII), with higher scores signifying greater impact; and (iii) differences on the LII by demographic characteristics and smoking behaviour.<h4>Results</h4>Scores on the LII differed significantly across countries. Scores were highest in France, lower in the UK, and lowest in Germany and the Netherlands. Across all countries, scores were significantly higher among low-income smokers, smokers who had made a quit attempt in the past year and smokers who smoked fewer cigarettes per day.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The impact of the health warnings varies greatly across countries. Impact tended to be highest in countries with more comprehensive tobacco control programmes. Because the impact of the warnings was highest among smokers with the lowest socioeconomic status (SES), this research suggests that health warnings could be more effective among smokers from lower SES groups. Differences in warning label impact by SES should be further investigated.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Cigarette graphic warning labels elicit negative emotion, which increases risk perceptions through multiple processes. We examined whether this emotion simultaneously affects motivated cognitions like smoking myth endorsement (e.g. 'exercise can undo the negative effects of smoking') and perceptions of cigarette danger versus other products. DESIGN:736 adult and 469 teen smokers/vulnerable smokers viewed one of three warning label types (text-only, low emotion graphic or high emotion graphic) four times over two weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Emotional reactions to the warnings were reported during the first and fourth exposures. Participants reported how often they considered the warnings, smoking myth endorsement, risk perceptions and perceptions of cigarette danger relative to smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes. RESULTS:In structural equation models, emotional reactions influenced risk perceptions and smoking myth endorsement through two processes. Emotion acted as information about risk, directly increasing smoking risk perceptions and decreasing smoking myth endorsement. Emotion also acted as a spotlight, motivating consideration of the warning information. Warning consideration increased risk perceptions, but also increased smoking myth endorsement. Emotional reactions to warnings decreased perceptions of cigarette danger relative to other products. CONCLUSIONS:Emotional reactions to cigarette warnings increase smoking risk perceptions, but also smoking myth endorsement and misperceptions that cigarettes are less dangerous than potentially harm-reducing tobacco products.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Smokers underestimate the health risks of smoking and overestimate their expected longevity. Warning labels on cigarette packs might help correct these misperceptions. METHODS:We carried out an online study with 1200 smokers (18-62 years old), randomized to 3 conditions: text warning labels, pictorial warning labels, and a control group (water bottle labels). Warning labels were based on those proposed by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2010. Participants in each condition saw 4 randomly selected labels and rated their expected longevity and chances of surviving to age 75 after exposure. Analyses of covariance controlled for cigarettes per day and self-rated health. RESULTS:Compared to control, both text and pictorial warnings reduced participants' expected longevity (text: mean = 76.8 years, pictorial: 77.3, control 79.4) and their estimated chances of living to 75 (text: 62.0%, pictorial: 63.0%, control 66.5%). The contrast between text and pictorial labels combined and control showed significantly reduced expected longevity (p = .011) and chances of living to 75 (p = .004). Differences between text and pictorial conditions were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS:Large text or pictorial warnings on cigarette packs might help smokers develop a more accurate understanding of the effects of smoking on their longevity.
Project description:Background:Experimental research on pictorial warning labels for cigarettes has primarily examined immediate intentions to quit. Purpose:Here, we present the results of a clinical trial testing the impact on smoking during and after a 28-day period of naturalistic exposure to pictorial versus text-only warnings. Methods:Daily cigarette smokers (N = 244) at two sites in the USA were randomly assigned to receive their regular brand of cigarettes for 4 weeks with one of three warnings: (a) text-only, (b) pictures and text as proposed by FDA, or (c) the warnings proposed by FDA with additional text that elaborated on the risks of smoking. Analyses examined the effects of pictorial versus text-only warnings and self-efficacy for quitting on cigarette consumption during and 1 month after the trial as mediated by emotional and cognitive responses as well as satisfaction with smoking. Results:Stronger emotional responses to pictorial than text-only warnings predicted reduced satisfaction with smoking during the trial and lower cigarette consumption at follow-up among the majority of smokers who continued to smoke. Consistent with the efficacy-desire model, those with moderate efficacy reported the greatest reduction in consumption at follow-up. However, a small proportion of smokers (7%) who reported 7-day abstinence at follow-up did not exhibit a significant relation with self-efficacy. Conclusions:Pictorial warning labels proposed by FDA create unfavorable emotional reactions to smoking that predict reduced cigarette use compared to text alone, with even smokers low in self-efficacy exhibiting some reduction. Predictions that low self-efficacy smokers will respond unfavorably to warnings were not supported.
Project description:Although e-cigarettes in the United States are required to carry one nicotine addiction warning, little is known about the impact of other potential e-cigarette warning themes, nor about pairing warnings with messages that communicate e-cigarettes' reduced-harm potential relative to cigarettes. We randomly assigned 876 young adults (ages 18?29) to view e-cigarette ads in a 3 × 2 plus control online experiment that varied by warning theme (i.e., nicotine addiction; nicotine's impact on adolescent brain development; presence of harmful chemicals) and warning type-i.e., the presence ("relative harm warning") or absence ("standard warning") of a relative harm (RH) statement in the warning label ("e-cigarettes may cause harm to health but are less harmful than cigarettes"). Warning believability, informativeness, understandability and support were high across conditions and there were no significant differences by warning theme on e-cigarette harm perceptions or use intentions nor on nicotine (mis)perceptions. Perceived warning effectiveness for discouraging youth initiation was higher for the "brain" and "chemicals" warnings compared to the addiction warning. Warnings with the included RH statement were perceived as less believable and credible and were less frequently correctly recalled. Research should continue to investigate the impact of different e-cigarette warning themes and formats with priority audiences.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>In 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required that electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) manufacturers, packagers, importers, distributors, and retailers display an addictive or alternate warning statement on e-cigarette visual advertisements. Few studies have investigated the FDA-mandated and other warnings on social media. This study examined the prevalence and content of warning statements in e-cigarette-related YouTube videos.<h4>Methods</h4>In 2019, The Virginia Commonwealth University Center for the Study of Tobacco Products conducted bi-monthly (February-June) YouTube searches by relevance and view count to identify e-cigarette-related videos. Overall, 178 videos met the inclusion criteria. Staff coded each video for the presence of a visual/verbal warning statement, warning statement type (eg, FDA-mandated, addiction/tobacco, safety/toxic exposure, health effects), sponsorship, and tobacco product characteristics. A data extraction tool collected the video URL, title, upload date, and number of views, likes/dislikes, and comments.<h4>Results</h4>Only 5.1% of videos contained FDA-mandated and 21.9% contained non-mandated warnings. All videos with FDA-mandated and 46.2% of non-mandated warnings were represented visually. Only 13.1% of industry-sponsored videos uploaded after the mandate effective date had an FDA-mandated warning statement and videos with FDA-mandated and non-mandated (v. no) warnings had significantly fewer views, likes, dislikes, and comments. Among all non-mandated warnings, 31.3% featured an addiction/tobacco, 18.8% a safety/toxic exposure, and 37.5% a health effects warning.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The prevalence of FDA-mandated warning statements in e-cigarette related YouTube videos was low. FDA enforcement of the warning statement mandate on YouTube could increase the public's understanding of the addictive nature of nicotine in e-cigarettes.<h4>Implications</h4>The FDA has the authority to regulate the advertisement and promotion of e-cigarettes on the Internet. These data can inform future FDA requirements related to the language content and visual representation of addiction/tobacco, safety/exposure, and health effects warning statements that appear in YouTube videos and other visual social media popular among young people. Such data would help consumers make informed decisions about purchasing e-cigarette products, using e-cigarettes, and avoiding unintentional harm related to e-cigarettes. In addition, these data may help social media platforms make decisions on whether they will prohibit advertisements that promote or facilitate the sale of tobacco products.