Reactions to graphic and text health warnings for cigarettes, sugar-sweetened beverages, and alcohol: An online randomized experiment of US adults.
ABSTRACT: We aimed to examine reactions to graphic versus text-only warnings for cigarettes, SSBs, and alcohol. A convenience sample of US adults completed an online survey in 2018 (n = 1352 in the analytic sample). We randomly assigned participants to view a: 1) text-only warning without efficacy information (i.e., message intended to increase consumers' confidence in their ability to stop using the product), 2) text-only warning with efficacy information, 3) graphic warning without efficacy information, or 4) graphic warning with efficacy information. Participants viewed their assigned warning on cigarettes, SSBs, and alcohol, in a random order. Across product types, graphic warnings were perceived as more effective than text-only warnings (p < .001) and led to lower believability, greater reactance (i.e., resistance), more thinking about harms, and lower product appeal (all p < .05); policy support did not differ. Compared to SSB and alcohol warnings, cigarette warnings led to higher perceived message effectiveness, believability, fear, thinking about harms, policy support, and greater reductions in product appeal (all p < .05). The efficacy information did not influence any outcomes. Graphic warnings out-performed text-only warnings on key predictors of behavior despite causing more reactance.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Research conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to select graphic warning labels for cigarette packs has been challenged as inadequate for demonstrating effects on smokers' beliefs about smoking. The present study tested the prediction that warnings alter risk perceptions and thoughts of quitting indirectly through a cognitive pathway (warning believability) and an affective pathway (worry about health), both of which are important for encouraging smokers to consider quitting.<h4>Methods</h4>Using a national Internet panel, individuals who smoke were randomly assigned to view 1 of 3 types of warning labels: basic text only, graphic image with basic text, and graphic image with both basic and additional text elaborating on the reason for the health risk. Analyses were conducted to determine whether cognitive and affective reactions mediated effects on smoking-related outcomes.<h4>Results</h4>Images influenced perceived risk, immediate desire to smoke, and feelings toward quitting indirectly through affective reactions; elaborated text influenced these outcomes through cognitive believability, with little evidence of direct effects. Believability also enhanced positive feelings toward quitting among smokers who were less worried about health risks due to smoking.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The findings indicate that (a) many effects of warnings on smokers' beliefs are mediated rather than direct, (b) both cognitive and affective responses are important mediators, and (c) elaborated text can help to increase effects of images through a cognitive pathway. Warning labels should be designed to maximize effects on these mediators in order to influence smoking outcomes.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>This study aimed to explore the impact of a new set of six pictorial warnings introduced in 2018.<h4>Design and setting</h4>Using a cross-sectional design, we examined awareness of the new warnings among Colombian smokers across two time points of data collection.<h4>Participants</h4>Adult smokers (≥18 years of age), defined as having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoking at least one cigarette per week participated at time 1, prior to the introduction of the new health warnings in Colombia in 2018 (n=1985, 72% male), and at time 2, 12 months post introduction (n=1572, 69% male).<h4>Primary outcomes</h4>At each time, we examined smokers' responses to warnings on packs (negative affect, thinking about warning messages and cognitive elaboration), attitudes toward smoking (perceived likelihood and severity of harm, self-efficacy, response efficacy and quit intentions), knowledge of the health risks of smoking and responses to the new warnings (negative affect, believability, thinking about the harms, reactance and perceived message effectiveness).<h4>Results</h4>Awareness of the warnings was low, with only 59% of smokers reporting having seen them at time 2. Between times, we observed a reduction in negative affect toward current warnings (p<0.001), reduced thinking about (p<0.001) and cognitive elaboration of the warning message (p<0.001), and an increase in perceived severity of warnings (p<0.001). When asked about the six new health warnings, we found a reduction in negative affect (p<0.07), cognitions related to harm (p<0.01), believability (p<0.03), reactance (p<0.01) and perceived message effectiveness (p<0.02) between times.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our data indicate that effectiveness was low prior to the introduction of the new health warnings and at 12 months post introduction. Tobacco control policy should seek to improve exposure to and noticeability of tobacco health warnings in Colombia.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>More than 100 countries have implemented pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages. However, few studies have compared how consumers from different geographic and cultural contexts respond to health warning content. The current study compares perceptions of warnings among adult smokers and youth in seven countries, to examine the efficacy of different health warning themes and images.<h4>Methods</h4>Between 2010 and 2012, online and face-to-face surveys were conducted with ~500 adult smokers and ~500 youth (age 16-18) smokers and nonsmokers in each of Mexico, United States, China, Germany, India, Bangladesh, and Republic of Korea (total N = 8182). Respondents were randomized to view and rate sets of 5-7 health warnings (each set for a different health effect); each set included a text-only warning and various types (ie, themes) of pictorial warnings, including graphic health effects, "lived experience," symbolic images, and personal testimonials. Mixed-effects models were utilized to examine perceived effectiveness of warning themes, and between-country differences in responses.<h4>Results</h4>Overall, pictorial warnings were rated as more effective than text-only warnings (p < .001). Among pictorial themes, "graphic" health effects were rated as more effective than warnings depicting "lived experience" (p < .001) or "symbolic" images (p < .001). Pictorial warnings with personal testimonials were rated as more effective than the same images with didactic text (p < .001). While the magnitude of differences between warning themes varied across countries, the pattern of findings was generally consistent.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The findings support the efficacy of graphic pictorial warnings across diverse geographic and cultural contexts, and support sharing health warning images across jurisdictions.<h4>Implications</h4>Although over 100 countries have implemented pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages, there is little research on the most effective types of message content across geographic and cultural contexts. The current study examined perceived effectiveness of text and pictorial health warnings featuring different message content-graphic health effects, "lived experience," personal testimonials, and symbolic imagery-among more than 8000 adults and youth in Mexico, United States, China, Germany, India, Bangladesh, and Korea. Across countries, "graphic" pictorial messages were rated as most effective. Consistencies across countries in rating message content suggests there may be "globally effective" themes and styles for designing effective health warnings.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Cigarette graphic-warning labels elicit negative emotion. Research suggests negative emotion drives greater risk perceptions and quit intentions through multiple processes. The present research compares text-only warning effectiveness to that of graphic warnings eliciting more or less negative emotion.<h4>Methods</h4>Nationally representative online panels of 736 adult smokers and 469 teen smokers/vulnerable smokers were randomly assigned to view one of three warning types (text-only, text with low-emotion images, or text with high-emotion images) four times over 2 weeks. Participants recorded their emotional reaction to the warnings (measured as arousal), smoking risk perceptions, and quit intentions. Primary analyses used structural equation modeling.<h4>Results</h4>Participants in the high-emotion condition reported greater emotional reaction than text-only participants (bAdult = 0.21; bTeen = 0.27, p's < .004); those in the low-emotion condition reported lower emotional reaction than text-only participants (bAdult = -0.18; bTeen = -0.22, p's < .018). Stronger emotional reaction was associated with increased risk perceptions in both samples (bAdult = 0.66; bTeen = 0.85, p's < .001) and greater quit intentions among adults (bAdult = 1.00, p < .001). Compared to text-only warnings, low-emotion warnings were associated with reduced risk perceptions and quit intentions whereas high-emotion warnings were associated with increased risk perceptions and quit intentions.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Warning labels with images that elicit more negative emotional reaction are associated with increased risk perceptions and quit intentions in adults and teens relative to text-only warnings. However, graphic warnings containing images which evoke little emotional reaction can backfire and reduce risk perceptions and quit intentions versus text-only warnings.<h4>Implications</h4>This research is the first to directly manipulate two emotion levels in sets of nine cigarette graphic warning images and compare them with text-only warnings. Among adult and teen smokers, high-emotion graphic warnings were associated with increased risk perceptions and quit intentions versus text-only warnings. Low-emotion graphic warnings backfired and tended to reduce risk perceptions and quit intentions versus text-only warnings. Policy makers should be aware that merely placing images on cigarette packaging is insufficient to increase smokers' risk perceptions and quit intentions. Low-emotion graphic warnings will not necessarily produce desired population-level benefits relative to text-only or high-emotion warnings.
Project description:Exposure to cigarette advertising can increase the likelihood of youth smoking initiation and may encourage people who already smoke to continue. Requiring prominent, graphic warning labels could reduce these effects. We test whether graphic versus text-only warning labels in cigarette advertisements influence cognitive and emotional factors associated with youth susceptibility to smoking and adult intentions to quit. We conducted two randomized, between-subjects experiments with middle-school youth (n = 474) and adult smokers (n = 451). Both studies employed a two (graphic or text-only warnings) by two (advertisements with social cues or brand imagery) factorial design with a fifth, offset control group (social cue advertisements with the current US Surgeon General's Warning). Graphic warnings outperformed text-only warnings in reducing visual attention to the advertisement, generating visual attention to the warning and arousing more negative affect. Graphic warnings also reduced the appeal of cigarette brands among youth relative to social cue advertisements with the Surgeon General's warnings. None of the warnings (graphic or textual) influenced health risk beliefs. Graphic warning labels on cigarette advertisements appear to have effects similar to those observed on cigarette packs in previous work, with an added benefit of reducing cigarette brand appeal among youth.
Project description:Health warnings may be less effective if they elicit reactance, a motivation to resist a threat to freedom, yet we lack a standard measure of reactance.We sought to validate a new health warning reactance scale in the context of pictorial cigarette pack warnings.A national sample of adults (n?=?1413) responded to reactance survey questions while viewing randomly assigned pictorial or text warnings on images of cigarette packs. A separate longitudinal sample of adult smokers received the warnings on their own cigarette packs (n?=?46).Factor analyses identified a reliable and valid 27-item Reactance to Health Warnings Scale. In our experimental study, smokers rated pictorial warnings as being able to motivate quitting more than text warnings. However, five reactance scale factors weakened the warnings' impact (anger, exaggeration, government, manipulation, and personal attack; all p?<?.05).The Reactance to Health Warnings Scale had good psychometric properties. Reactance weakened the impact of pictorial warnings on smokers' evaluation of the warning's ability to motivate quitting.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Observational research suggests that placing graphic images on cigarette warning labels can reduce smoking rates, but field studies lack experimental control. Our primary objective was to determine the psychological processes set in motion by naturalistic exposure to graphic vs. text-only warnings in a randomized clinical trial involving exposure to modified cigarette packs over a 4-week period. Theories of graphic-warning impact were tested by examining affect toward smoking, credibility of warning information, risk perceptions, quit intentions, warning label memory, and smoking risk knowledge. METHODS:Adults who smoked between 5 and 40 cigarettes daily (N = 293; mean age = 33.7), did not have a contra-indicated medical condition, and did not intend to quit were recruited from Philadelphia, PA and Columbus, OH. Smokers were randomly assigned to receive their own brand of cigarettes for four weeks in one of three warning conditions: text only, graphic images plus text, or graphic images with elaborated text. RESULTS:Data from 244 participants who completed the trial were analyzed in structural-equation models. The presence of graphic images (compared to text-only) caused more negative affect toward smoking, a process that indirectly influenced risk perceptions and quit intentions (e.g., image->negative affect->risk perception->quit intention). Negative affect from graphic images also enhanced warning credibility including through increased scrutiny of the warnings, a process that also indirectly affected risk perceptions and quit intentions (e.g., image->negative affect->risk scrutiny->warning credibility->risk perception->quit intention). Unexpectedly, elaborated text reduced warning credibility. Finally, graphic warnings increased warning-information recall and indirectly increased smoking-risk knowledge at the end of the trial and one month later. CONCLUSIONS:In the first naturalistic clinical trial conducted, graphic warning labels are more effective than text-only warnings in encouraging smokers to consider quitting and in educating them about smoking's risks. Negative affective reactions to smoking, thinking about risks, and perceptions of credibility are mediators of their impact. TRIAL REGISTRATION:Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01782053.
Project description:Sugary drink warnings are a promising policy for reducing sugary drink consumption, but it remains unknown how to design warnings to maximize their impact overall and among diverse population groups, including parents of Latino ethnicity and parents with low English use. In 2019, we randomized US parents of children ages 2-12 (n = 1078, 48% Latino ethnicity, 13% low English use) to one topic (one of four warnings, or a neutral control), which they viewed on three designs (text-only, icon, and graphic) to assess reactions to the various warnings on sugary drinks. All warning topics were perceived as more effective than the control (average differential effect [ADE] ranged from 1.77 to 1.84 [5-point Likert scale], all p < .001). All warning topics also led to greater thinking about harms of sugary drinks (all p < .001) and lower purchase intentions (all p < .01). Compared to text-only warnings, icon (ADE = 0.18) and graphic warnings (ADE = 0.30) elicited higher perceived message effectiveness, as well as greater thinking about the harms of sugary drinks, lower perceived healthfulness, and lower purchase intentions (all p < .001). The impact of icon warnings (vs. text warnings) was stronger for parents with low English use, compared to those with high English use (p = .024). Similarly, the impact of icon (vs. text warnings) was stronger for Latino parents than non-Latino parents (p = .034). This experimental study indicates that many warning topics hold promise for behavior change and that including images with warnings could increase warning efficacy, particularly among Latino parents and parents with low English use. Clinical Trial Registration: NCT04382599.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4> Health warning labels on tobacco packaging are a cost-effective means of health risk communication. However, while an extensive range of physical health risks are well-portrayed via current tobacco health warnings in the UK, there are none that currently portray the negative impact of smoking on mental health. <h4>Aims</h4> (i) develop novel mental health warning labels for tobacco packaging and (ii) test perceptions of these warnings in smokers and non-smokers, with and without mental health problems. <h4>Methods</h4> Six mental health warning labels were developed with a consultancy focus group. These warning labels were tested in an online randomised experiment, where respondents (N = 687) rated six Mental Health Warning Labels (MHWLs) and six Physical Health Warning Labels (PHWLs) on measures of perceived effectiveness, believability, arousal, valence, acceptability, reactance and novelty of information. <h4>Results</h4> MHWLs were perceived as low to moderately effective (mean = 4.02, SD = 2.40), but less effective than PHWLs (mean = 5.78, SD = 2.55, p < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.63). MHWLs were perceived as less believable, arousing, unpleasant, and acceptable than PHWLs. MHWLs evoked more reactance and were rated as more novel. Perceptions of MHWLs did not differ in people with and without mental health problems except for reactance and acceptability, but consistent with the PHWL literature, perceptions of MHWLs differed between non-smokers and smokers. <h4>Conclusion</h4> MHWLs could be an effective means to communicate novel information about the effects of smoking on mental health. MHWLs are perceived as less effective, believable, arousing, unpleasant, and acceptable than PHWLs, but MHWLs evoke more reactance and are rated as more novel.
Project description:Objectives: In this study, we examined visual attention of a warning label on a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) and its effects on visual attention to SSB product descriptors and perceptions of SSB using eye tracking technology. Methods: We had 180 young adults view an image of a generic soda can with or without a text warning on a computer monitor. Results: Participants spent less time looking at marketing elements on the can in the "Warning" condition compared to the "No warning" (control) condition. Compared to the control, participants in the "Warning" condition viewed the sugar-sweetened beverage as less healthy (1.78 warning vs 2.21 control, p < .01) and believed that drinking SSBs contributed to diabetes (5.70 warning vs 5.27 control, p < .01). Visual attention to warning label was associated with correct recall of the warning and opting out of purchasing the can. Conclusions: Textual warning on SSB reduced visual attention to marketing elements on the can. Although there were few statistically significant differences between the conditions on most measures of product appeal or risk perception, warnings increased some perceived risks of SSBs indicating that warning labels on SSBs might be a promising strategy in informing consumers, particularly young adults, about risks of added sugars.