Washington: Smokers pay attention to the health warning about smoking when they see photos of patients on ventilators, a US research has revealed. A study of 200 smokers found that 83 per cent were able to remember the health warning if it was accompanied by a graphic image.

This compared with a 50 per cent success rate when text-only warnings were viewed by the smokers.
The UK government is carrying out a consultation on packaging of cigarettes. Using eye-tracking technology, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania measured how much time the smokers spend viewing each part of a cigarette advertisement containing warning labels.

After looking at the advertisement, each participant was asked to write down the warning to test how well they remembered the information.

The faster a smoker's eyes were drawn to the text in the graphic warning and the longer that they viewed the image, the more likely they were to remember the information correctly, the study said.

Dr Andrew Strasser, lead author of the study and associate professor at the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, said that the findings were important.

"In addition to showing the value of adding a graphic warning label, this research also provides valuable insight into how the warning labels may be effective, which may serve to create more effective warning labels in the future," said Strasser.

Strasser said that he hoped graphic warning labels would help people become better informed about the risks of smoking and lead to a decision to stop smoking. The study has been published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.


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