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Open Access Visual Attention Patterns Differ by Pictorial Health Warning Label Features

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This issue is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND (Version 4) This issue is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND (Version 4)
Objectives: In this study, we sought to determine how smokers allocate their attention when viewing the 9 cigarette pictorial warning labels (PWLs) proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and identify PWL attributes associated with increased attention. Methods: Using eye-tracking data from an exploratory within-subject study, we examined smokers' attention (latency, latency duration, and dwell time) to areas of interest (image vs textual warning) for each PWL among 95 daily, non-treatment-seeking smokers (62.1% male, 48.4% white, mean [SD] age = 32.98 [10.14], mean [SD] cigarettes/day = 15.51 [8.43]). We also compared attention measures by PWL message congruency, textual warning location, and participant rankings of effectiveness. Results: Attention measures differed significantly among PWLs (ps < .001) and by features and self-reported effectiveness rankings (ps < .001 - .039). Congruent PWLs, those displaying text across the warning label, and those ranked most effective were associated with sustained attention to image, whereas incongruent PWLs, those displaying left text, and those ranked least effective, were associated with faster and sustained attention to text. Conclusions: Smokers allocated their attention differently across PWLs. Formats and participant effectiveness rankings of PWLs were associated with visual attention patterns, suggesting the importance of these features to the design of potential future PWLs.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 2018

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  • 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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