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People upset over graphic warning on cigarette packages


Washington: If you think that the graphic warning labels of images of disease used on cigarette packages might stop its consumption then a new research has found that the good intentions of this tobacco control measure may be for naught.

According to a University of Illinois study, the reason behind this is that the graphic images are perceived by many as a threat to their freedom, choice or autonomy, and they respond accordingly.

Researcher Nicole LaVoie said they found that most people don’t like these warning labels, whether they are smokers or non-smokers.

She added it makes them angry and they express negative thoughts about the packaging that they’re being manipulated. Ultimately, it also makes them think that the source, the government in this case, mandating these labels is being overly domineering is being too much in their business.

The participants in the study were 435 undergraduates between the ages of 18 and 25, with a median age of 20. Smokers were 17.5 percent of the sample and nonsmokers were 82.5 percent.

As part of the study, all participants were given a cigarette package of the same popular brand, along with a questionnaire designed to measure certain personality traits as well as their reaction to the package. Half of the smokers and half of the non-smokers were given packages with graphic warning labels with one of seven images and the other half were given packages with a text-only label.

Numerous studies in other countries have shown smoking decreases after the implementation of graphic warning labels, LaVoie said, but in many cases the new labels coincided with other tobacco control measures such as tax increases and smoking bans.

LaVoie added their goal is to think about what can they do, what messages can they construct that are effective for all, but also target these groups that are the most in need of help.

The study has been published in the journal Communication Research. (ANI)

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