Impacting the Future Smoking Behavior of Young Smokers and Nonsmokers: Identifying Effective Visual Tobacco Warnings for Packaging and Advertising

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Source Publication

2014 SMA Proceedings

Source ISSN



The inclusion of graphic visual warnings on cigarette packaging is used in more than 45 countries and has been mandated for U.S. tobacco packaging and advertising by Public Law 111-31. This study develops and tests a simple, parsimonious methodology to evaluate visual stimuli appropriate for use with text-based package and advertisement warnings. Some 2000 ratings of 27 graphic visual warnings are collected from adolescent smokers and nonsmokers. Cluster analysis and follow-up analysis of variance results show that a high performing visual stimuli group is perceived as effective in preventing adolescent smoking initiation and in helping current adolescent smokers quit. More than 60% of the variance in outcome variables can be explained by these results. These findings addressing characteristics of the visual warnings perceived as effective have implications for the ongoing litigation and anticipated battles between tobacco companies and the U.S. government regarding use of highly graphic pictorial warnings.


Published as part of the proceedings of the conference, 2014 SMA Conference, 2014: 185-186. Permalink.