Should health warnings be on the cigarettes themselves?
Health warnings and graphic images on cigarette boxes are commonplace all over the western world. These are just a couple of examples of anti-smoking actions taken by governments, and run alongside measures such as removing cigarette products from view at supermarkets and banning advertising altogether.
According to one university study, however, there is yet another step that could be taken to encourage people to quit smoking.
Researchers from New Zealand’s University of Otago have suggested that the next step could be to make the cigarettes themselves as unattractive as the packaging. For example, the sticks could have printed health warnings or images, or they could come in unappealing colours to put off smokers.
Smoking is the cause behind roughly 13 deaths every day in New Zealand, with the highest numbers showing in the 25-34 age bracket for males, where 28 percent are regular smokers.
When the team tested their unattractive cigarette theory in a study, they found that printed warnings and unattractive colours (they tried yellow-brown and green) did in fact create the desired reaction in smokers. It meant that they were less likely to choose these test sticks.
One of the lead researchers in the study, Professor Janet Hoek, was adamant that the measures would further improve smoking cessation rates.
“Requiring cigarette sticks and rolling paper to feature such a graphic, or to be produced in dissuasive colours, would likely increase the impact plain packaging will have on those who smoke, while also deterring others from taking up smoking,” she explained.
This study shows that there is more than one way for a smoker to be deterred from cigarettes, whether that’s through putting them off tobacco via warnings, or encouraging them to try alternative cessation methods such as vaping.