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Will graphic pack warnings change smokers’ minds?


As smokers prepare for new graphic health warnings on their cigarette packs from 1 March, the question remains – will graphic health warnings on packs help them to quit?

The answer, according to a study from Canada, which introduced graphic health warnings in 2001, is yes.

A 2003 Canadian study that assessed the impact of the Canadian graphic cigarette pack warnings on adult smokers revealed that virtually all smokers (91 per cent) reported having read the warning labels. Smokers who had read, thought about, and discussed the new labels were more likely to have quit, made a quit attempt, or reduced their smoking three months later. [1]

Professor Geoffrey Fong, one of the authors of the study, said that the study confirmed the impact of health warnings. "Graphic health warnings increase smokers' thoughts about the health risks of smoking, and thinking about those risks are associated with future quit attempts," said Professor Fong.

According to Mr Todd Harper, Executive Director of Quit, these results are encouraging for Australia.

"The positive result from Canada's introduction of graphic health warnings on cigarette packs bodes well for Australia. The introduction of graphic health warnings in Australia will play a vital role in educating people about the health affects of smoking and in prompting people to quit smoking.

"Graphic health warnings on cigarette packs are especially important, considering the low impact of the current text warnings on packs."

"The introduction of graphic health warnings on cigarette packs is a key step in educating smokers about the health effects of their habit, and in prompting them to quit smoking," said Mr Harper.

If you would like assistance to quit smoking call the Quitline 13 7848.


Edwina Vellar,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811

[1] .Hammond, D., Fong, G.T., McDonald, P.W., Cameron, R., & Brown, K.S. (2003). The impact of the graphic Canadian warning labels on adult smoking behaviour. Tobacco Control, 13, 391-395. 

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