Impact of Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarette Packs in Changing Smokers' Views and Habits: An Opinion Survey

Document Type : Original Article


1 Shifa College of Medicine, Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad, Pakistan

2 Department of Community and Family Medicine, Shifa College of Medicine, Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad, Pakistan


Background: Smoking has become a major issue worldwide. With the advancement in technology, more
vulnerable populations, such as teenagers, are also being harmed. One deterrent is the presence of graphic
labels on cigarette packs. With this rationale in mind, the objective of our study is to assess the impact of
these warning labels on the habits and opinions of smokers.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted by distributing a validated paper-based questionnaire.
The sample size was calculated to be 200 using statistical software. The study targeted students of
Islamabad, Pakistan, who were studying in twelfth grade and were smokers. The sampling method used
was ‘snowball sampling’.
Findings: 128 (64%) males and 72 (36%) females participated in the study. The mean age of the participants
was 17.59 ± 0.51 years. 40 participants reported choosing local brands for cigarettes due to cigarette
‘freshness’, regardless of presence or absence of a graphic label, which was a new concept. 94% of
participants believed that presence of a visual label helped with understanding the harm and 78% believed
that the side effects were accurately portrayed. Participants who were more than 17 years of age believed that
the graphic label provided a clear description of the consequences of smoking. Similar results were seen in
the female participants of the study.
Conclusion: There is a general consensus on graphic labels altering the opinions of smokers. The presence
of these labels is, however, targeting only a specific type of audience and hence, should be expanded for a
larger audience