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Open Access Eye Tracking Outcomes in Tobacco Control Regulation and Communication: A Systematic Review

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Objective: In this paper we synthesize the evidence from eye tracking research in tobacco control to inform tobacco regulatory strategies and tobacco communication campaigns. Methods: We systematically searched 11 databases for studies that reported eye tracking outcomes in regards to tobacco regulation and communication. Two coders independently reviewed studies for inclusion and abstracted study characteristics and findings. Results: Eighteen studies met full criteria for inclusion. Eye tracking studies on health warnings consistently showed these warnings often were ignored, though eye tracking demonstrated that novel warnings, graphic warnings, and plain packaging can increase attention toward warnings. Eye tracking also revealed that greater visual attention to warnings on advertisements and packages consistently was associated with cognitive processing as measured by warning recall. Conclusions: Eye tracking is a valid indicator of attention, cognitive processing, and memory. The use of this technology in tobacco control research complements existing methods in tobacco regulatory and communication science; it also can be used to examine the effects of health warnings and other tobacco product communications on consumer behavior in experimental settings prior to the implementation of novel health communication policies. However, the utility of eye tracking will be enhanced by the standardization of methodology and reporting metrics.
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Keywords: ADVERTISING; EYE TRACKING; HEALTH COMMUNICATION; HEALTH WARNINGS; PLAIN PACKAGING; SMOKING; TOBACCO

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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