Effects of Including a Graphic Warning Label in Advertisements for Reduced-Exposure Products: Implications for Persuasion and Policy1


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    This research was funded by a pilot grant to Eugene Borgida from the Minnesota Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC), NCI/NIDA P50 DA-13333. None of the authors involved in the research have any competing interests. This work was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Minnesota. The authors thank Dorothy Hatsukami and Mitch Zeller for their helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Emily Stark, Minnesota State University, Mankato, 23 Armstrong Hall, Mankato, MN 56001. Email: emily.stark@mnsu.edu or Eugene Borgida, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail: borgi001@umn.edu


Considerable interest has focused on making warning labels on tobacco-product packaging more effective in communicating risk to current and potential smokers. However, none of this work to date has involved the communication of risk information about reduced-exposure products, or how a graphic warning label may function in advertisements. Reduced-exposure products pose an interesting public health challenge in light of the fact that many advertisements for such products convey safety claims that may undermine the likelihood that potential consumers will process warnings about the products. The present study examines the influence of graphic warning labels on ratings of advertisements for 3 different types of tobacco products. Results showed that including a graphic picture lowered the appeal ratings for the product.