August 30, 2019
‘Smoking Kills’ warnings could appear on individual cigarettes within the next five years, experts have said. 
Smoking Kills Warnings Could Appear On Individual Cigarettes Within Five Years, Experts Claim
Research, conducted by the University of Stirling, showed people across a range of genders, ages, and social classes, would find smoking with cigarettes carrying the message ‘embarrassing’. 
More than 100 countries around the world have legislation which requires tobacco companies to print large health warnings on cigarette packages, with a handful of nations – including the UK – using plain packaging with a sizeable health warning only. 
No governments currently require individual warnings on each cigarette, however lead researcher Dr Crawford Moodie has described the move as an ‘inevitability’, with the Scottish and Canadian governments already considering the health messaging. 
“I think it’s an inevitability,” Dr Moodie explained. “Whether it’s the Scottish government, Canadian government, or another country, I would be very surprised we weren’t seeing this warnings on cigarettes themselves sometime within the next five years.
“The research we conducted with the focus groups showed that, particularly amongst young people, non-smokers and those who had just started smoking, individual health warnings on cigarettes were likely to prolong the health message and could lead to reduced consumption or quitting altogether.”
Twenty focus groups, containing a total of 120 participants, were consulted during the study, which set out to examine the impact of extending the health warnings beyond the packet and into the experience of smoking itself. 
Although some participants, particularly those in the older groups or who had been smoking for a significant period of time, said they felt the effectiveness would wear off, the effect of ‘Smoking Kills’ being printed on each cigarette provoked a strong reaction from some. 
One male participant in the 36-50 age group said: “If you were a non-smoker and you were standing talking to somebody – maybe one of the boys smoking – you’re standing, you’re a non-smoker and you seen something that says ‘Smoking kills’ on it, you’d maybe think ‘That guy is, he’s a bit mental’.”
Another male participant in the 25-35 age group said: “Maybe gives you a wee bit of a guilt trip as well cause you’re standing there with that in your hand and you’ve got kids to think about.”
As well as increasing awareness of the health implications of smoking, participants also drew attention to the embarrassment they would feel holding a similar cigarette. One female participant in the 16-17 age group said: “It’s not so bad between people who smoke cause you are in the same position, but ifyou were with friends who don’t smoke, it would be a bit embarrassing.”
Dr Moodie has been conducting research into the concept of printing warning messages onto cigarettes themselves since 2012, when during a trip to Singapore he saw cigarettes branded with messaging implemented by the government in order to crackdown on illegal imports. 
“I saw that and thought, ‘well why couldn’t we do a similar thing in the UK to raise awareness of the health risks?’” he said. 
“Tobacco companies have been printing onto papers for at least 50 years, and in terms of feasibility there seems to be very little reason why they would be unable to print health warnings onto the cigarettes themselves. 
“This is the latest of a series of studies we have conducted into this specific type of health warning, which has found the message to resonate with different groups across the population as a whole.”
Upon returning to Scotland he got in touch with Cancer Research UK, who he had worked with in the past and have supported the research into branding individual cigarettes with health branding. 
The charity states that smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer in the country, and actively promote campaigns in order to discourage the habit for health reasons.  Related... HRT Breast Cancer Risk 'Bigger And Lasts Longer' Than Thought The 'Porn Block' Won't Change How Young People View Sex. Only Education Will. Plant-Based Diet Could Negatively Impact Your Brain Health, Study Reveals
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