Half Of Americans Rate Graphic Warnings On Cigarette Packages As More Effective

July 05, 2011, 5:00 PM GMT+0

By a 7-to-1 margin, 49%-7%, Americans believe a cigarette warning label that includes both an arresting image (poll respondents were shown the warnings depicted here) and text will be more effective than the current text-only label at discouraging smoking. However, 25% say neither will be effective, while 12% say the two warnings would be equally effective and 7% are not sure. Opinions vary greatly by age, with 68% of respondents under 30 saying the new labels are more effective than the old, and only 38% of those over 65 saying this.

Americans must feel more should be done to discourage anyone from lighting up. A majority say the health warning label should take up about half the package (34%) or more than half the package (24%), while only 24% favor warnings that take up less than half the package, and only 18% say no warning label is necessary at all.

People tend to blame both smokers and the tobacco companies for the health problems related to smoking, but are more likely to want to see the burden of paying for the cost of treating smoking-related illnesses borne by smokers alone — 42% say smokers should pay for the cost of treating their smoking-related health problems, while 49% say either the cost should be paid by both smokers and tobacco companies (36%) or tobacco companies alone (13%). 

The U.S. is home to roughly equal numbers of smokers and former smokers. Over-all, 50% have never smoked as many as 5 packs of cigarettes their whole life. Of the other 50%, half that group still smoke every day or some days, while the other half says they never smoke at all anymore. 

Full datasets for Economist/YouGov polls can be found here.

Photo source: Press Association

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