Graphic warnings on cigarette packs work, study shows

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This image courtesy of the US Department of Health and Human Services center for Disease Control and Prevention shows a clip of an anti smoking advertisement. Roosevelt never thought that at 45-years-old he would have a heart attack due to his smoking. In this TV ad, from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign, he talks about the impact his smoking-related heart attack has had on his life. These anti tobacco print ads and video testimonies by the CDC are a campaign to inspire smokers to quit smoking. AFP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Pictures speak louder than words.

Health advocates are pushing anew for graphic health warnings (GHWs) on cigarette packs, citing a new Harvard study which showed that pictures are more powerful than words in warning people, especially minority groups, about the dangers of smoking.

Nongovernmental organization HealthJustice said the study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and international tobacco control group Legacy found that GHWs were more effective in getting smokers of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to quit smoking.

The study observed reactions of 3,300 smokers to various warning labels on cigarette packs. It revealed how the powerful graphics made an impact across all demographic groups based on race, ethnicity, income and education.

This prompted HealthJustice to renew calls for lawmakers to pass a law mandating the printing of graphic health warnings on cigarette packs.

“We hope our lawmakers can pass this bill before Congress adjourns so that many lives will benefit from it,” said lawyer Irene Reyes, managing director of HealthJustice.

“Implementing graphic health warnings will reduce communication inequalities across social classes. These will more effectively communicate tobacco’s harmful effects. Hopefully, through GHWs, fewer smokers will choose tobacco over food, education and other basic necessities,” she said.

At least 6 million people die every year from tobacco-related diseases worldwide. Eighty percent of those deaths come from developing countries like the Philippines, where there is a lack of health awareness and fewer resources available for educating the public about tobacco’s dangerous effects.

In the Philippines, 240 Filipinos die every day due to tobacco-related causes.

“Filipinos have a high literacy but so many of us are not health literate,” said Emer Rojas, a laryngeal cancer survivor and president of the New Vois Association of the Philippines.

“Too many of our countrymen begin smoking without knowing what they’re really getting into. I should know—I smoked until my cancer forced me to stop,” he said.

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  • buttones

    If it works, then get a Bill through the Houses ASAP, at 240 people dieing every day we have little time to lose.
    And remove all brand names as well, Fortune, Hope and Champion – I mean really! The Chinese have the weirdest names for cigarettes…; Double Happiness” er..duh!
    It won’t happen of course- the tobacco lobby will start bleating on about lost sales and revenues, lost jobs, the poor ‘farmers’ and so on. A quantifiable idea that seems to work? Not always easy to get these things through the House……….a Bill to play our national anthem five times a day in all malls from one end of the country to the other to instill ’nationalistic feelings’ – that stands more of a chance…..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HCCTT6COHRQZD2NJIWM4UGXDEU Dibo Dragon

    “Too many of our countrymen begin smoking without knowing what they’re really getting into. I should know—I smoked until my cancer forced me to stop,” he said.

    seriously?  Smokers and plain STUPID period.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5PHTVEQASSC346BPXIGKQW23NY Ysfrendon

    In the Philippines, 240 Filipinos die every day due to tobacco-related causes.

    WHO POSTED SUCH LIES IN HERE??? THE ONE WHO POSTED THIS QUANTITY HAS BRAIN DAMAGE! NOR YOUR BRAIN REPLACED BY SMOKE OF TOBACCO!!! HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT HOW MANY FILIPINOS DIED IN YEAR IF 240 DIES EACH DAY? AND HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT HOW HUGE THE SMOKER’S POPULATION IN THE NATION (THE PHILIPPINES)??? PLEASE THINK WELL WHO EVER YOU ARE BEFORE YOU POST SOMETHING TO THE ELECTRONIC JOURNAL. IT’S A SHAME ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE A FILIPINO, MISLEADING THE READERS IS A SERIOUS OFFENSE!

    LET ME REMIND YOU THAT WE ARE NOT IN JUST FOR LAUGHT GAGS. WHERE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS JOURNAL?????? 

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