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Graphic Cigarette Labels Are a Shocking Success

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Graphic Cigarette Labels Are a Shocking Success

The addition of graphic warning labels on cigarette packs as a smoking deterrent has come under fire from the tobacco industry and from experts who think the move is unlikely to succeed.

A recent study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that the labels may actually be working, justifying governments which have adopted them. According to the research, the graphic labels improve smokers' recall of the warning label.

In fact, compared to the previous text-only version that 50 percent of participants could recall, the graphic cigarette packaging boosted that number to 83 percent. Additionally, the longer they looked at the graphic image, the more likely participants were to correctly recall the information it provided.

"[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 Andrew Strasser, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Penn. "We're hopeful that once the graphic warning labels are implemented, we will be able to make great strides in helping people to be better informed about their risks, and to convince them to quit smoking."

These results could make it difficult for tobacco companies to fight against their implementation, which they believe will harm sales.