A study led by Dr. Andrew Strasser, associate professor at the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, revealed that graphic images on cigarette packages appears to help smokers remember a health warning accompanying the image.
The study, the results of which were shared in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, determined that 83 percent of the study participants were able to remember a health warning on a cigarette package, when it is accompanied by a graphic warning label.
In comparison, there was only a 50 percent success rate when warnings are only in text form.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, involved 200 smokers. The researchers used eye-tracking technology to measure how long smokers spent viewing every part of a cigarette advertisement with warning labels. Each participant was then asked to write down the warning after looking at the ad, to test how well they remembered the information.
The results of the study showed that a participant would be more likely to remember the information correctly the faster their eyes were drawn to the text in the graphic warning and the longer they looked at the image.
Dr. Strasser shared that the findings were important, and that it was his hope that graphic warning labels will help raise awareness about smoking risks among smokers, and help them decide to quit: “In addition to showing the value of adding a graphic warning label, this research also provides valuable insight into how the warning labels may be effective, which may serve to create more effective warning labels in the future.”