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Study: Graphic Warnings To Reduce Smoking

Study: Graphic Warnings To Reduce Smoking

SELINSGROVE, Pa. — A U.S. study suggests the new health warnings with graphic pictures on cigarette packages will reduce demand for cigarettes, researchers say.

Study co-author Matthew Rousu, a professor of economics at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., and colleagues say the study involved a sample of 404 adult smokers from four States who participated in an experimental auction on cigarette packs with four different kinds of warning labels.

All packs carried the same message — smoking causes mouth cancer — but the first pack featured a text-only message on the side of the pack, which mimics the current U.S. policy on smoking warnings. The second pack had a text-only message that covered 50 percent of the lower half of the front, back and one side of the pack, and a third had the same text message, but with a photo depicting mouth cancer, the researchers say.

The fourth pack had the same text and graphic photo, but was a mostly unbranded pack with all color and symbolic brand elements removed except for the brand’s font, size and descriptors.

The study, scheduled to be published in the September issue of the journal Health Policy, bids for cigarette packs that had a grotesque photo and no brand imagery received bids that were 17 percent lower than the bids for the package with the current U.S. warning label.

“Results from our study suggest that the new health warnings with graphic pictures will reduce demand for cigarettes,” Rousu says in a statement.

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  • TombstoneLizard

    Cigarettes are still cheaper than health care premiums or prescription co-pays. Try getting to see a doctor for nicotine patches if you are under-insured, least of all buying them. Oh, and if you are VA, regardless of how totally inconvenient transportation and/or the cost in time/money is to go there, they now require you to attend “smoking cessation” classes PRIOR to issuing you the patch. So, the governments and the lawyers ripped billions out of the tobacco industry to offset healthcare costs, but it didn’t lower care costs or benefit people who are trying to quit…..Go figure.

    • Karolyn

      Does the VA not pay for travel? Or is that only for vets with a disability?

    • eddie47d

      T.L. The Tobacco industry is the one who was ripping off the consumer and lied for numerous years so have no pity on them. I do agree that some states took the settlement money and used it for more than smoking cessation education and healthcare.

      • JC

        Ever wondered just how much the govewrnment itself has invested in the tobacco industry? The answer might surprise you.
        This whole smoking cessation thing is just more crap sponsored by Government and BigPhrma to get more money out of your pocket anyway…since when did either actually give a damn about any of us?

        • Zermoid

          When are they going to start putting these graphic labels on all the crap Big Pharma pushes? How about Pictures of Airplane crash victims at the entrance to Airports? Victims of Auto Accidents on Cars? Pictures of Oil Spill victims on gas pumps? Pictures of grossly obese people on snack food packages and soda bottles. Where does one draw the like here?

          Besides, there is no real scientific PROOF that any disease is caused by smoking.
          However there ARE studies that show health benefits of smoking.
          Better brain function, less loss of memory, lower your risk of Parkinson’s, protect your joints and lower your risk of a total joint replacement surgery, lower risk of obesity, and even PREVENT some cancers!

          • Zermoid

            Also let’s not forget the Flu Shots, with ZERO proof they prevent anything (other than big pharma going broke) but plenty of proof of causing death and lifetime neurological harm, sure we could slap some wonderful pics on them as well!

  • Song

    When I was young I volunteered at a St. Vincent’s Hospital in the oncology ward which was enough education for me about the harmful effects of smoking. Almost without exception, everyone in there was or had been a smoker and I cannot tell you how many people in their 50′s and 60′s would grab my hand and plead with me to never start smoking because that is what was killing them now. I sincerely hope that these gruesome pics will be a deterrent.

    • Stickwoman Red

      If anyone reading this ever has the chance to see the wandering display at your local science museum called, “The Body Human” I urge you to see it! I am very squimish when it comes to blood and guts, but this is truly unique, informative, interesting and extremely well done. The point of this is that most of the bodies are those of indigent Chinese men and a few women, whose only pleasure in life was chain-smoking and drinking as many homeless people do. Their abuse on their bodies because of heavy smoking was evident, as the lungs displayed ranged from a medium-grey color to that of a dark charcoal compared to a pair of healthy pink ones. Also the damaged lungs were so much longer than the healthy ones. Same with the liver. If anyone who smokes or thinks they want to smoke should see this exhibit, it would make you think twice or make you want to quit!

      • Kaleidescope

        “…most of the bodies are those of indigent Chinese men and a few women, whose only pleasure in life was chain-smoking and drinking as many homeless people do.”

        How much impact on those bodies was determined to be the result of their lifestyle and national environmental issues?

  • Karolyn

    People will only stop smoking when they are ready to (if ever). Just like with alcoholics and drug addicts, fear is no deterrent. I speak from experience. I stopped for 5 years but picked it up again because of extreme stress in my life. I just spoke to a guy the other day who has emphysema and is on oxygen at night and still smokes. I’ve seen it over and over. People have the right to do what they want with their own bodies.

    • Disgusted

      Yes, everyone has a right to do with their own bodies what they want, but, I don’t smoke so why should I have to pay higher medical costs to make up for your illnesses.
      Where I work they have instituted a higher premium for health insurance for smokers and I was glad to see it. A company in Texas just declared that if you are a smoker you are ineligible for employment – good for them.
      Smokers know what it does to their bodies, if they still choose to smoke then they should pay the consequences…..not me. Same for alcoholics and drug addicts – it is not a disease it is a choice!

      • Kaleidescope

        Will you apply that same logic and qualification to homosexual males and AIDS?

      • Kaleidescope

        Will that same logic apply to people who choose high risk entertainemnt such as off-roading, Xtreme skateboarding, skydiving, base jumping, mountain climbing, et al?

      • Johnny Hiott

        That’s o.k. Your hamburgers,french fries, dairy products, beef or anything else you may consume will be next. It’s happening now. What do you think the senate bill “food protection act” passed earlier this year was about. It certainly is not about making food safer. It is about government telling you what you can grow,raise or eat.
        Do not be duped into thinking government cares about the peoples health. Government with their regulations over what is put into our food in collusion with big agriculture cause ten times more cancers than ciggarettes ever have.

        • NOWtheytellus!

          FINALLY! Johnny Hiott:
          You hit the nail right on the head. This (as what had happened with past rights and as well will happen to future rights) is blatant governmental intervention upon America’s freedoms. The sleepers and sheeple will come to realize this shortly after the g’men knock on their doors demanding they sacrifice THEIR rights (and I’m certain that there will be those about who will applaud that movement as well). This may ‘seem’ like a good movement as many believe (through the words of those with an agenda) but it’s nothing more than (again) testing the water before coming out full force to challenge other, less critical rights. Don’t believe me? (I couldn’t care less).

        • JC

          That’s a fact!

      • JC

        “A company in Texas just declared that if you are a smoker you are ineligible for employment – good for them.”

        You’d have fit in nicely with the Nazi’s. They were “insanely” anti-smoker too.

    • Ellen

      Karolyn, That’s very true. Adults are completely aware of what they are doing and choose to do it anyway. Gross pictures won’t matter. As for kids/teens, they will probably think the pictures are cool. Many have seen more disgusting things in their game systems. The warning about causing cancer has been on packs for over 40 years and people are still smoking. Adding a gross picture isn’t going to change that. This is simply more govt intervention that will waste money and have no effect.

  • Kaleidescope

    What illogic does an auction of fake cigarette pack labels have to do with whether smokers will be deterred?

    I will continue to smoke until I feel differently…and see the grossly graphic warnings placed on the pharmeceuticals that are causing cancers, heart attacks and other irrepairable damage to our organs under the auspice of making us somehow ‘better’.

    I intend to collect all my ‘graphic’ warning empty packs and regularly mail them to FDA with the simple message that I an returning their propaganda.

    • Song

      well good for you Kaleidescope and all the other smokers on this board…a tad bit defensive don’t you think?

  • Johnny Hiott

    If there were any truth that graphic pictures of diseased organs truly would reduce the use of cigaretts. Then pictures of nancy polosi would reduce the need for politicians ! Smoking is a personal choice and none of the governments business. I have a personal disdain for governments intrusion into smoking rights simply because of their lack of interference in the usage of alcohol. Alcohol has killed and maimed many more people than smoking ever has. I suppose the senators and members of the house must all be owners of breweries and in control of alcohol like john mccain is.

  • FlaJim

    They started putting these stupid labels on cigarettes years ago in Canada and simultaneously grossly increased the taxes on them. The former made it difficult to pick out one’s favorite brand and the latter has made trips to Indian reservations popular since they’re not subject to the taxes.

    In my case, I patronize a ‘roll your own’ merchant where the taxes don’t apply and I pay about a third of smokes off the shelf.

    As a smoker for 40+ years who’s never had a smoking related illness, I think it’s all about the money (taxes). My doctor recently congratulated me about being a non smoker after listening to my lungs. I’m convinced that smoking may exacerbate a predisposition to certain diseases but doesn’t cause them. How else can you explain those in their late 20s with ‘smoking related’ ailments while there are guys in their 90s who smoke a pack and a half a day?

    • Song

      The lungs are not the only organ affected by smoking…ever spent any time in an oncology ward? I sincerely doubt you would be so brash.

  • LadyWolf

    Graphic photos on cigarette packaging – will not deter smoking. Why don’t these goody-two-shoes direct efforts towards tobacco companies instead? Since they are the providers of cigarettes in the first place. The answer to that question is b/c tobacco companies are big money lobbyists tin Congress. Why not also put graphic photos on hard liquor and beer as well? They too are hazardous to health in one way or another. This is all propaganda by insurance providers who are also major contributors and lobbyists in Congress.


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