Disparagement of health warning labels on cigarette packages and cessation attempts: results from four countries
journal contributionposted on 01.12.2017, 00:00 authored by A Osman, J F Thrasher, Hua YongHua Yong, E Arillo-Santillan, D Hammond
Health warning labels (HWLs) on cigarette packs that use strong fear appeals may evoke defensive responses including acts of disparaging the warnings. Whether warning disparagement undermines HWL effectiveness remains unclear. We assessed correlates of one type of HWL disparagement and its association with subsequent cessation attempts. Longitudinal data (2012-14) on adult smokers from Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United States (US) were analyzed. HWL disparagement was assessed as the frequency of making fun of HWLs in the past month. Using Generalized Estimating Equation models we estimated correlates of HWL disparagement and whether HWL disparagement predicted subsequent cessation attempts. In each country, across all waves, 24-31% of smokers reported making fun of the warnings at least once in the past month. More frequent disparagement was found among males, younger participants, those with higher education and greater addiction, and those who recently attempted to quit. Attention to, avoidance of and talking to others about HWLs were all positively associated with HWL disparagement. In all countries, except the US, this type of HWL disparagement was an independent predictor of subsequent cessation attempts. HWL disparagement among smokers may indicate greater warning relevance and processing and does not result in counterproductive effects on cessation efforts.