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Free Content Graphic tobacco health warnings: which genre to choose?

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BACKGROUND: Tobacco prevention studies show that graphic health warnings are more effective than text warnings, but there are no data on the effectiveness of different types of graphic health warnings in a Pakistani population. Even marginal differences in the effectiveness of genres can be of potential significance for public health.

OBJECTIVE: To study the effectiveness of different types of graphic tobacco warnings in a Pakistani population.

STUDY DESIGN: We presented ten anti-smoking warnings to randomly selected volunteers (n = 170) and recorded their opinion on the effectiveness of each warning. The warnings were based on a range of images aimed at the diverse population interviewed. A grading scale based on appeal, application, educational potential and motivation towards cessation was used to produce a composite grade of perceived effectiveness of the warning.

RESULTS: Our results indicate that graphic warnings reach a greater proportion of the population than text warnings. Those appealing to logic, and those inculcating a sense of fear by showing a deleterious outcome of smoking, were judged likely to be most effective in motivating smokers to quit and preventing experimental smokers from forming a habit.

Keywords: anti-tobacco warnings, smoking cessation; graphic health warnings

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: School of Medicine, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan 2: Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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