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Graphic Images on Cigarette Packs Can Decrease Related Deaths

Graphic pictures on cigarette packs can decrease mortality and other tobacco-related consequences, suggests a new study published in the journal Tobacco Control.

The study is the first to look into the effects generated by graphic images that serve as warning on cigarette packs. The team of researchers found that we can have fewer cases of mortality, low birth weight, preterm births, and infant deaths thanks to these pictures. They used data pertaining to changes in smoking rates in countries where prominent pictorial warning labels (PWLs) were implemented, namely in Australia, Canada and the UK.

Graphic picture on cigarette packs. Photo credits: FDA.

The findings show that a decrease of around 12 to 20% was recorded in Canada 8 years after the implementation. The same trend was found in both Australia and the UK.

The researchers used their results to estimate that the number of deaths attributed to smoking might decrease by 652,800 by 2065. They also say that low-birth weights might be reduced by over 46,600 cases while 73,600 preterm births can be prevented.

“The bottom line is that requiring large pictorial warnings would help protect the public health of people in the United States,” says professor of oncology David Levy, one of the authors of the study. “There is a direct association between these warnings and increased smoking cessation and reduced smoking initiation and prevalence. That would lead to significant reduction of death and morbidity, as well as medical cost.”


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