Graphic tobacco health warnings: which genre to choose?

sobani Z, Aga Khan University
nizami S, Aga Khan University
Raza E
ulAin Baloch N, Aga Khan University
Khan JA, Aga Khan University


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.