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Statutory Warnings on Cigarette Packs- Make It Bigger and Brighter, Say Researchers

Researchers have a piece of advice for governments who want to help smokers kick ‘butts’; keep all warnings// printed on cigarette packages as graphic and as big as possible.

The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) identifies smoking as the second major cause of death in the world. It is responsible for the death of one in 10 adults worldwide, or about five million deaths each year.

The researchers led by David Hammond, Ph.D., of Canada's University of Waterloo analyzed smoking prohibitory messages on cigarette packets marketed in Canada, Australia, Britain and U.S during the period 2002 to 2005.

The researchers quizzed around 15,000 smokers on how effective these messages were in alerting them to the dangers of smoking and in helping them quit.

The results published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine seek to encourage governments to pay attention to the way these messages are displayed as they had a bigger impact than expected.

In Canada highest response or awareness to these messages was recorded. Sixty percent of those questioned said there were alerted to the ills of smoking by these messages. Here the ads printed on the cigarette packet were large colorful graphic representations such as a drooping cigarette indicating impotence, a rotting mouth –indicative of gum disease, mouth cancer etc.

Next came Britain, which introduced large text messages on the front of the packet and smaller warnings on the side. This was in 2003, when the study was being carried out.

Before the new messages were introduced, only 44 percent of British smokers said they were aware of packet warnings. Afterwards, the awareness rose to 82 percent, a sign that bigger messages and new messages are vital, according to the researchers.

In Australia text messages covered more than a quarter of the pack, and an awareness of 52 percent was recorded.

Awareness among Americans was dismally l
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