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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 107, Issue 6, pp e562–e567 | Cite as

Challenging key assumptions embedded in Health Canada’s cigarette packaging legislation: Findings from in situ interviews with smokers in Vancouver

  • Rebecca J. Haines-SaahEmail author
  • Kirsten Bell
Quantitative Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The main objective of this study was to utilize qualitative research methods in order to explore variations in how smokers respond to the government-mandated graphic health warnings and messages on their cigarette packets.

METHODS: Sixty in situ interviews were carried out with people while they were smoking in public settings across the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. During the interviews, participants were asked to recall the warning label on their cigarette packet, and general questions about the effects the imagery and text have had on their smoking.

RESULTS: The analysis of findings pointed to several ways that participants overlooked, dismissed or otherwise failed to accurately recall health messages and images on their cigarette packaging. In particular, a significant minority questioned the veracity of the content of the labels and highlighted their exaggerated nature. With regard to the health information inserts, participants identified them as rubbish to be discarded rather than messages to be read. Few smokers could remember the warning label on their packet and some described warning labels that do not currently exist. Finally, a substantial proportion of participants were not smoking cigarettes from a standard packet, raising questions about how universal exposure to the labels actually is.

CONCLUSION: Prevailing assumptions about how cigarette packaging legislation works as a population-level tobacco control intervention appear to be based on flawed assumptions about how people interact with cigarette packets as they are used in their everyday lives. As such, continued efforts on the part of tobacco control to redevelop “bolder” or more “graphic” labels on tobacco packaging may require consideration.

Key Words

Cigarette smoking tobacco use cessation qualitative research 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: Le principal objectif de notre étude était d’utiliser des méthodes de recherche qualitative pour explorer les variations dans les réponses des fumeurs aux mises en garde illustrées et aux messages sur la santé imposés par le gouvernement figurant sur leurs paquets de cigarettes.

MÉTHODE: Nous avons mené 60 entretiens sur place avec des personnes en train de fumer dans des lieux publics de la ville de Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique). Durant ces entretiens, nous avons demandé aux participants de se rappeler l’étiquette de mise en garde sur leur paquet de cigarettes et nous leur avons posé des questions générales sur les effets des illustrations et du texte sur leur consommation.

RÉSULTATS: L’analyse des constatations a permis de repérer plusieurs façons dont les participants négligent, rejettent ou omettent autrement de se rappeler avec précision les messages et les illustrations sur la santé figurant sur l’emballage de leurs cigarettes. En particulier, une importante minorité de répondants a mis en doute la véracité du contenu des étiquettes et en a souligné la nature exagérée. Pour ce qui est des prospectus d’information sur la santé, les participants les considéraient comme des déchets à jeter et non comme des messages à lire. Peu de fumeurs pouvaient se rappeler l’étiquette de mise en garde de leur paquet, et certains ont décrit des étiquettes qui n’existent pas actuellement. Enfin, une importante proportion de participants ne fumait pas de cigarettes venant d’un paquet standard, ce qui soulève des questions quant à l’universalité réelle de l’exposition aux étiquettes.

CONCLUSION: Les hypothèses courantes sur l’efficacité des lois sur l’emballage des cigarettes en tant que mesure de lutte antitabac à l’échelle de la population semblent fondées sur des hypothèses erronées quant à la façon dont les gens interagissent avec les paquets de cigarettes dans la vie quotidienne.

Mots Clés

consommation de cigarettes arrêt du tabac recherche qualitative 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Health SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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