Pictorial Warning Labels and Quit Intention in Smokers Presenting to a Smoking Cessation Clinic


1 Research Unit, Iranian Anti-Tobacco Association

2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, NRITLD, Shahid Beheshti University M.C., TEHRAN, IRAN.


Background: At present, cigarette smoking results in the death of more than 5 million people annually and if the current trend of smoking continues in the 21st century, tobacco-related deaths are projected to grow to one billion. Pictorial warning labels on cigarette packaging are amongst the most effective tools for educating smokers and non-smokers alike about the health risks of tobacco use. Article 11 of the International Tobacco Control Treaty and article 5 of the National Comprehensive Law on Tobacco Control in Iran have discussed this issue. This study aimed at evaluating the correlation between pictorial warning labels on cigarette packaging and quit intention in smokers. Materials and Methods: In this cross sectional study, 581 smokers presenting to a smoking cessation clinic (affiliated to the Tobacco Control Society) in the year 2009 were evaluated. Smokers were asked to fill out a questionnaire including personal information, history of smoking, number of cigarettes smoked per day, brand of cigarette smoked, whether or not the cigarette used had pictorial warning label, smoking rate before the placement of pictorial warnings compared to after, whether or not they support the placement of such images, and role of these pictures in their quit intention. Data were analyzed using SPSS ver.15 software. Results: A total of 581 smokers participated in this study out of which 512 were males with a mean age of 41±14 yrs and 69 were females with a mean age of 42±9.9 yrs. The mean history of smoking was 20 yrs. Six months after placement of pictorial warning labels on some cigarette packets, 67.6% of smokers still purchased packets with no such labels. A total of 62% of smokers supported the placement of pictures and 8% stated that seeing the pictorial warning motivated them to quit smoking. Conclusion: Pictorial warning labels play a role in motivating smokers to quit. Although most smokers presenting to the clinic used packets without pictorial warnings, most of them supported the placement of these pictures. (Tanaffos2010; 9(4): 48-52)