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Many countries around the world have been witnessing a decrease in smoking, amongst other things, thanks to the stirring graphic warnings placed on cigarette packs. Cigarette smoke is known to contain over 9,000 chemicals, 60 of which are known carcinogens. However, most adults in the US can only name a few toxins, namely Tar and Nicotine.

A study found that picture warnings are more effective than text-only warnings, as they are more likely to catch consumers’ attention, and increase their attempts to quit.
The WHO recommends listing all toxic ingredients on cigarette packets, together with large picture warnings. A study published on BMJ journals found that picture warnings are more effective than text-only warnings as they are more likely to catch consumers’ attention, hence increasing their attempts to quit.

To date, over 100 countries across the globe have implemented pictorial warnings, amongst which Nepal, Vanuatu, India, Thailand, and Australia boast the largest warning sizes. In South Korea, the number of smokers turning to smoking cessation clinics has doubled in the last year, with 80% of the callers saying that what prompted them to call were the graphic warning images placed on cigarette packs as of last January.

It’s time the US implements regulations for new cigarette pack warnings

Sadly the US is lagging behind. The FDA has been busy devising bans and regulations to limit e-cigarette use, even though countless studies indicate that the products are effective safer alternatives to use for smoking cessation. However in contrast, the agency has failed to update warnings on cigarette packs for over 30 years, since 1984.

Given the known effectiveness of graphic warnings and the public’s desire to be better informed about the number of toxins in cigarettes, it is clearly about time the US updates cigarette packet warnings. As observed from other countries, regularly rotated, large and telling graphics are the way to go.

More info : The Conversation