The new EU cigarette health warnings benefit smokers who want to quit the habit: results from the Dutch Continuous Survey of Smoking Habits

Marc C Willemsen
European Journal of Public Health 2005, 15 (4): 389-92

BACKGROUND: As of September 2004, all European Union countries are required to have new health warnings on cigarette packs. This study examined the self-perceived impact of these warnings on the attractiveness of cigarettes, smokers' motivation to quit and smoking behaviour.

METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study comprising 3937 Dutch adult smokers.

RESULTS: Of smokers, 14% became less inclined to purchase cigarettes because of the new warnings, 31.8% said they prefer to purchase a pack without the new warnings, 17.9% reported that warnings increased their motivated to quit and 10.3% said they smoked less. A strong dose-response relationship was observed between these effects and intention to quit.

CONCLUSIONS: The new warnings made cigarette packs less attractive, especially to smokers who already intended to stop smoking.

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