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Article | A comparison of on-pack Quitline information formats

New research from the University of Otago suggests tobacco plain packaging would be enhanced by clearer and more visually striking Quitline information.

ASPIRE2025 co-Director Janet Hoek and her team conducted an online study of 608 New Zealand smokers and used a choice experiment to examine how alternative Quitline information formats affected smokers’ perceptions and choice behaviours, and their likelihood of seeking cessation support.

Abstract

Background

Although tobacco packages have evolved to feature health warnings and, in Australia, dissuasive colours, the format of on-pack cessation information has not changed. We compared how alternative Quitline information formats affected smokers’ perceptions and choice behaviours, and their likelihood of seeking cessation support.

Methods

We conducted an online study comprising a choice experiment using a two (number of panels) by three (panel position: above, middle, below) plus control (current format) design, and a between-subjects comparison of a two-panel format and the control. The sample comprised 608 New Zealand smokers.

Results

Relative to the current format, respondents regarded each test format as more effective in communicating cessation information (p<0.0001), particularly the two-panel formats. Respondents found the two-panel format tested via paired comparisons significantly easier to read, more visually salient and more likely than the control to encourage them and other smokers to consider quitting (all p<0.0001). Heat map comparisons showed that the Quitline number and affirming message were significantly more salient in the test format than in the current format (p<0.0001), although the headline and warning explanation were more salient in the control.

Conclusions

Reformatting Quitline information could improve its visual salience and readability and capitalise on the dissonance that pictorial warning labels and plain packaging create. Enhancing stimuli that may prompt smokers to try and quit, affirming their decision to do so and prompting the use of cessation support could increase the number and success of quit attempts.

Citation

Hoek, J., Gendall, P., Eckert, C., Rolls, K., & Louviere, J. (2014). A comparison of on-pack Quitline information formats. Tobacco control, tobaccocontrol-2014.

The full article can be viewed here

Or to read the blog written by Professor Janet Hoek on Public Health Expert, view Optimising the effects of plain packaging for tobacco – making Quitline information more salient

For more information please contact:

Professor Janet Hoek
Department of Marketing
University of Otago
email janet.hoek@otago.ac.nz