Tobacco Control in Ireland: How effective are dual health warnings on tobacco packaging?
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Limerick Institute of Technology, Limerick, Ireland
Publication date: 2018-06-13
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2018;4(Supplement):A72
Aim and objective:
Ireland has a strong history of implementing control measures - being the first country to have smoking banned in the workplace (under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts 2002-2015 in 2004). Ireland’s implementation of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control treaty in 2006 and the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive (2014) has allowed us to cement our role as a prominent Member State. This project seeks to understand the how effective tobacco control measures such as anti-smoking images, with an emphasis on dual health warnings, are in reducing the number of people smoking in a small Irish cohort. Article 8 of the Directive (2014) outlines the requirement to carry health warnings in the official language (s) of each country - In Ireland this is both Irish (Gaelic) and English.

Material and Methods:
Two quantitative surveys were completed with a sample of 650 third-level students in the Mid-West of Ireland, with an overall response rate of 82%. These studies were completed over two years as a pilot for the author’s PhD work. In the first survey students were asked to translate health warnings from Irish to English; in the second survey they were asked to rate the perceived persuasiveness of English only warnings versus combined health Irish warnings in stopping them from smoking.

Results suggest that students surveyed were unable to translate and understand dual health warnings on Irish tobacco packaging resulting in students finding English language only health warnings more persuasive in 11 / 14 cases.

In order to fully determine the extent of such language illiteracy and its impacts, further work needs to be completed. Future work will focus on the impact of health warning messages, the use of colour and font on tobacco packaging, adopting a mixed method approach to understand the impact of such on smokers and non-smokers’ decision making processes.

No external funding was sought. Internal funding was provided as part of LIT’s Graduate & Research Studies Office bursary awards.

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