Apr 9, 2019
An Experiment With Adult Smokers
Published in: Health Education Research (2019). doi: 10.1093/her/cyz011
Posted on RAND.org on April 26, 2019
This experiment tested whether the presence of graphic health warning labels on cigarette packages deterred adult smokers from purchasing cigarettes at retail point-of-sale (POS), and whether individual difference variables moderated this relationship. The study was conducted in the RAND StoreLab (RSL), a life-sized replica of a convenience store that was developed to evaluate how changing POS tobacco advertising influences tobacco use outcomes during simulated shopping experiences. Adult smokers (n = 294; 65% female; 59% African-American; 35% White) were assigned randomly to shop in the RSL under one of two experimental conditions: graphic health warning labels present on cigarette packages versus absent on cigarette packages. Cigarette packages in both conditions were displayed on a tobacco power wall, which was located behind the RSL cashier counter. Results revealed that the presence of graphic health warning labels did not influence participants' purchase of cigarettes as a main effect. However, nicotine dependence acted as a significant moderator of experimental condition. Graphic health warning labels reduced the chances of cigarette purchases for smokers lower in nicotine dependence but had no effect on smokers higher in dependence.