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January 15th, 2014:

Avoidance of cigarette pack health warnings among regular cigarette smokers



Previous research with adults and adolescents indicates that plain cigarette packs increase visual attention to health warnings among non-smokers and non-regular smokers, but not among regular smokers. This may be because regular smokers: (1) are familiar with the health warnings, (2) preferentially attend to branding, or (3) actively avoid health warnings. We sought to distinguish between these explanations using eye-tracking technology.


A convenience sample of 30 adult dependent smokers participated in an eye-tracking study. Participants viewed branded, plain and blank packs of cigarettes with familiar and unfamiliar health warnings. The number of fixations to health warnings and branding on the different pack types were recorded.


Analysis of variance indicated that regular smokers were biased towards fixating the branding rather than the health warning on all three pack types. This bias was smaller, but still evident, for blank packs, where smokers preferentially attended the blank region over the health warnings. Time-course analysis showed that for branded and plain packs, attention was preferentially directed to the branding location for the entire 10s of the stimulus presentation, while for blank packs this occurred for the last 8s of the stimulus presentation. Familiarity with health warnings had no effect on eye gaze location.


Smokers actively avoid cigarette pack health warnings, and this remains the case even in the absence of salient branding information. Smokers may have learned to divert their attention away from cigarette pack health warnings. These findings have implications for cigarette packaging and health warning policy.

Big Island Now: Hawaii Ban on Under-21 Tobacco Sales Begins in July

by Dave Smith, posted on Big Island Now:

Saying he was doing it for the benefit of the community, and especially children, Mayor Billy Kenoi on Thursday put his signature on a law banning the sale of tobacco products to those under 21.

Those attending the signing included County Councilman Dru Mamo Kanuha, who introduced the bill, and students from Kealakehe High School who advocated for the measure.

Wearing T-shirts stating “One Good Reason” with an arrow pointing up at their face, more than 40 students from Kealakehe and Konawaena high schools had attended County Council meetings where the measure was deliberated and eventually passed unanimously.

“I signed this bill for the benefit of our community, and most importantly, our kids,” Kenoi said.

“Mahalo to Councilman Kanuha for hearing their voices and having the courage to follow through. With all of the known harmful effects of tobacco use, this measure is in the best interest of public health and safety.”

According to the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, nearly 1,200 Hawaii residents die each year from diseases related to tobacco use – 90% of whom became daily tobacco users before the age of 18.

“We are deeply grateful to Councilmember Kanuha and his staff for creating a bill that was easy for the other councilmembers to support,” said Sally Ancheta, East Hawai‘i Coalition coordinator for CTFH. “We thank Mayor Kenoi for taking the initiative to protect our youth and supporting the many voices that came to testify.”

“My commitment is to help our young people live longer and healthier lives than the generation who came before them, and to improve the overall health of our island,” Kanuha said.

The law goes into effect July 1, 2014.

20 Dec 2013

AFP: French court rules e-cigs fall under tobacco monopoly

from the AFP:

A French commercial court ruled on Monday that e-cigarettes qualify as tobacco products and should only be sold by registered tobacconists.

The ruling by the court in Toulouse is subject to appeal but could eventually see the distribution of e-cigarettes limited by a state-imposed monopoly on tobacco sales.

The decision comes amid a global boom in sales of e-cigarettes — battery-powered, vapour-releasing tubes that are promoted as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco products.

The case stems from a complaint made by a local tobacconist against the Esmokeclean e-cigarette shop in the southern town of Plaisance-du-Touch.

The court in nearby Toulouse gave its verdict Monday, ordering Esmokeclean to stop selling and advertising e-cigarettes as it was violating the “state monopoly on the sale of tobacco” — a decision that could set a precedent.

Cigarettes and other tobacco products can only be sold in France at registered outlets and their advertising is banned.

The court said e-cigarettes fall into that category despite containing no tobacco.

A lawyer for Esmokeclean said the company would appeal the ruling and in the meantime would be allowed to continue selling and advertising e-cigarettes.

Governments have struggled with how to regulate e-cigarettes since their emergence and growing popularity in recent years.

Supporters claim they are harmless and a valuable tool in helping smokers to quit.

The World Health Organisation has advised against them however, saying their potential health risk “remains undetermined”.

In October European lawmakers rejected a bid to classify e-cigarettes as medicinal products, which would have restricted their sale to pharmacies.

9 Dec 2013