University of Otago researchers have found that graphic images printed on cigarette smokes could reduce the appeal of smoking to young people.
The Otago researchers, along with colleagues from Australia, conducted an online survey of more than 300 Kiwi smokers, testing the reactions to images of four cigarettes sticks that either featured printed warnings or were unattractive colours such as yellow-brown and green.
"We found that smokers were significantly less likely to choose the test sticks and found all significantly less appealing than the status quo — a white cigarette with a brown filter tip," Professor Janet Hoek says.
Ms Hoek says a cigarette with the graphic of "minutes of life lost" that went from one minute near the tip to 15 minutes near the butt had the strongest adverse effect of the sticks tested.
"Requiring cigarette sticks and rolling paper to feature such a graphic, or to be produced in dissuasive colours, would likely increase the impact plain packaging will have on those who smoke, while also deterring others from taking up smoking," she says.
The results of the research have been published in the BMJ journal Tobacco Control.