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Medical News: Warning Labels Help Ex-Smokers Resist  

Jump to full article: MedPage Today, 2012-04-26
Author: Nancy Walsh, Staff Writer, MedPage Today


Action Points

* This study found that former smokers can be helped with avoiding relapse if they actively pay attention to the health-risk warning labels on cigarette packs.

* Note that country of residence did not significantly predict relapse, even though the warning labels in the United Staates are text only and placed on the side of the pack, whereas in the other countries the labels are larger, placed more prominently, and can include graphic illustrations.

Health-risk warning labels on cigarette packages can help former smokers avoid relapse -- if they actively use them as part of a strategy to remain tobacco-free, a prospective cohort survey suggested.

In a series of multivariate analyses, merely noticing the warning labels was actually associated with a greater risk of relapse (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.09, P<0.01) according to Ron Borland, PhD, of the Cancer Council Victoria, in Carlton, Australia, and colleagues.

"Mere exposure to the warnings, because it entails concurrent exposure to cigarettes, is likely to be positively associated with relapse," they explained online in Tobacco Control.

However, after controlling for the factors of self-efficacy for remaining abstinent and the degree of urge to smoke, the greater risk was no longer present (OR 1.29, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.80, P=0.135), they reported.

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