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Printing 'Smoking Kills' On Individual Cigarettes Could Help People Give Up, Study Shows

Printing 'Smoking Kills' On Individual Cigarettes Could Help People Give Up, Study Shows

Printing 'smoking kills' onto individual cigarettes could help people kick the habit, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Stirling looked at the impact directly branding cigs had on smokers, as opposed to warnings that were only printed on the packaging.

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The university found that participants viewed warnings on individual cigarettes to be 'depressing, worrying and frightening', and that the message regarding the dangers of smoking stayed with them for longer.

Dr Crawford Moodie, who led the study, said: "The consensus was that individual cigarettes emblazoned with warnings would be off-putting for young people, those starting to smoke, and non-smokers.

The study examined the reactions of 120 participants. Credit: University of Stirling
The study examined the reactions of 120 participants. Credit: University of Stirling

"This study suggests that the introduction of such warnings could impact the decision-making of these groups.

"It shows that this approach is a viable policy option and one which would - for the first time - extend health messaging to the consumption experience."

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The study consisted of 20 focus groups, made up of 120 participants split into different age groups.

One male who took part in the 36-50 age group said: "If you were a non-smoker and you were standing talking to somebody - maybe one of the boys smoking - you're standing, you're a non-smoker and you seen something that says 'Smoking kills' on it, you'd maybe think 'That guy is, he's a bit mental'."

Dr Moodie has been looking into the idea of printing warning messages onto individual cigarettes themselves since 2012, when during a stop in Singapore he saw cigarettes branded with messaging regarding the government's crackdown on illegal imports.

The study found that warnings on individual cigarettes stayed with smokers longer. Credit: PA
The study found that warnings on individual cigarettes stayed with smokers longer. Credit: PA

He said: "I saw that and thought, 'well why couldn't we do a similar thing in the UK to raise awareness of the health risks?'

"Tobacco companies have been printing onto papers for at least 50 years, and in terms of feasibility there seems to be very little reason why they would be unable to print health warnings onto the cigarettes themselves.

"This is the latest of a series of studies we have conducted into this specific type of health warning, which has found the message to resonate with different groups across the population as a whole."

The study was funded by Cancer Research UK, who said that 'too many young people are still taking up smoking'.

Following the results, the charity said the findings suggested that making cigarettes look 'unappealing' could go some way to helping reduce the number of smokers in the country.

Featured Image Credit: University of Stirling

Topics: uk news, Interesting, Health

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]

 

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