Global Evidence on the Association between Cigarette Graphic Warning Labels and Cigarette Smoking Prevalence and Consumption

Tobacconomics published a blog about this paper on 4/5/18. 

Background: In 2011, the courts ruled in favor of tobacco companies in preventing the implementation of graphic warning labels (GWLs) in the US, stating that FDA had not established the effectiveness of GWLs in reducing smoking.

Methods: Data came from various sources: the WHO MPOWER package (GWLs, MPOWER policy measures, cigarette prices), Euromonitor International (smoking prevalence, cigarette consumption), and the World Bank database (countries’ demographic characteristics). The datasets were aggregated and linked using country and year identifiers. Fractional logit regressions and OLS regressions were applied to examine the associations between GWLs and smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption, controlling for MPOWER policy scores, cigarette prices, GDP per capita, unemployment, population aged 15–64 (%), aged 65 and over (%), year indicators, and country fixed effects.

Results: GWLs were associated with a 0.9–3 percentage point decrease in adult smoking prevalence and were significantly associated with a reduction of 230–287 sticks in per capita cigarette consumption, compared to countries without GWLs. However, the association between GWLs and cigarette consumption became statistically insignificant once country indicators were included in the models.

Conclusions: The implementation of GWLs may be associated with reduced cigarette smoking.