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Cigarette Packaging




Each year, it is common to hear people saying that their new year`sresolution is to quit smoking, but various studies have shown thatquitting this habit is not an easy task. The graphic images on healthwarnings included in cigarette packaging are quite effective incurbing smoking habits not only in adult smokers but also in childrenwho might become future smokers. These pictorials deliver healtheffects messages that stimulate people’s thinking about healthrisks associated with smoking by evoking some fear in smokers,arousing memories of smoking health effects, and strengthening andincreasing the realization of smoking-related negative consequences.

These graphical cigarette warning labels have an impact on smokers ina way that, most of them after seeing them, try to quit smoking.Others try any means to avoid seeing them. This would decrease thenumber of smokers. Results from a meta-analysis research that wasconducted by Noar, Hall, Francis, Ribisi, Pepper, and Brewer (2016)on the effectiveness of pictorial cigarette pack warnings, indicatethat these warnings have more positive impacts than text-onlywarnings. Noar et al., (2016) observed that graphic warnings have theability to allure people`s attention in a better way, elicit strongeremotional and cognitive reactions, trigger both negative smokingattitudes and negative packaging attitudes, and finally increasesmokers’ intention to stop smoking and people’s intention tostart the habit.

Smokers who are attentive to these warning labels are more likely toquit smoking than those who do not pay attention at all (Noar et al.,2016). By merely observing those labels, most smokers report havingthoughts of smoking health risks, and many develop the urge ofquitting. For those that do not pay any attention to these warnings,they tend to say that these labels mean nothing because they are justexaggerations, and quitting would compromise their enjoyment insmoking.

Smokers who concentrate on covering up these labels to avoid seeingthem are also likely to stop smoking because they experience arebound of not only quitting thoughts, but also thoughts of healthrisks associated with smoking. The ironic monitoring theory explainswhy rebounding happens. Suppressing thoughts about these warningsmight turn out to be a challenge, due to a rebound. These thoughtsreturn later once your guard is down. The theory posits that when anindividual is busy blocking out a particular thought, a section ofhis or her brain is vigorously hunting for any other informationrelated to the suppressed thought with the intention of shutting itdown. Therefore, this search makes the suppressed thoughts moreaccessible making it hard to forget them (Noar et al., 2016).Quitting smoking for this group can be as a result of psychologicaltorture these thoughts can bring.

I think that these labels should be used together with other wayslike a tax increase in the food industry to deter people fromconsuming unhealthy food. People are likely to be sensitive to foodswith big health warning labels than to foods without warning labels.Many people do their shopping very fast without taking too much timereading labels. However, big disclaimers on the front of unhealthyfood products can influence people’s decisions on what to buy.Also, tax on such food products should be increased, and peopleshould be told that the high tax is due to the less nutritional valuein those foods.

In conclusion, massive health warning labels on cigar packs areeffective ways of reducing smoking and discouraging nonsmokers fromstarting smoking. As people are made to know about the unhealthynature of smoking, they should also be told about the health risks ofunhealthy food.


Noar,S. M., Hall, M. G., Francis, D. B., Ribisl, K. M., Pepper, J. K., &ampBrewer, N. T. (2016). Pictorial cigarettepack warnings:A meta-analysisof experimentalstudies. Tobacco Control, 25(3), 341-354.