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Graphic Health Warnings and Young Adult Attitudes Toward Smoking

Principal Investigator: Laurie Chassin

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health - Grant

ID number: 3 R01 DA013555-30S1

Award Date: 9/15/2012

Institution: Arizona State University Tempe

Research suggests that graphic warning labels on cigarette packages are effective in changing smoking-related attitudes, beliefs, and intentions. Previous studies of exposure to graphic warnings have examined explicit cognitive measures and proxy behaviors; however, recent data suggest that implicit cognition is also an important determinant of smoking initiation and cessation. The goal of this study is to examine the effect of graphic health warnings and warning statements on young adults' explicit and implicit attitudes toward smoking. Specific aims are: (1) to test whether exposure to the FDA graphic health warnings influences implicit and explicit attitudes toward smoking, perceived probability of future smoking and other tobacco use, and engagement with anti-smoking information among young adults; (2) to apply an innovative process model (the Quad model) to implicit attitude measures to identify the components of implicit attitudes that change following exposure to graphic health warnings; and (3) to determine whether the effects of exposure to graphic health warnings differ for males and females and for African Americans, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic Caucasians. Young adults (aged 18-26) who vary in race/ethnicity, gender, and smoking status will be recruited to a two-session web-based study. Investigators will examine the effects of graphic images plus corresponding warning statements on implicit attitudes toward smoking (measured both before and after exposure), compared to warning statements only. The study will provide information about the effectiveness of the FDA warning labels in helping to limit or deter smoking, and will provide a methodology for investigating the effects of anti-smoking warning labels on implicit measures and underlying processes.

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