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Scary Cigarette Packs Keep Ex-Smokers Ex

Not only current smokers are affected by the warnings, a study finds.

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By Fionna Agomuoh

04/26/12

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Ex-smokers get help staying smoke-free from warnings on cigarette packages, according to a new study. The study arrives just as several nations, including the US, gear up to update cigarette pack warnings from words to graphic images. "This study provides the first evidence that health warnings can help ex-smokers stay quit," says Dr. Ron Borland of the VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control in Australia. He and his team believe that warnings on cigarette packets remind ex-smokers why they quit in the first place, thus helping them resist relapse. The US FDA agree that cigarette packaging can help ex-smokers keep up their resolve. Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, NY, says that anti-smoking PSA's have made significant impact urging smokers to quit. "When these types of commercials are aired, calls to state smokers' quit-lines have increased dramatically,” she says. “This increase in calls indicates that the ads appear to be motivating smokers to quit." One survey, conducted between 2002 and 2009 asked ex-smokers if cigarette packaging warnings had helped them stay off cigs. Those who found the cigarette packaging helpful had a relapse rate of 41%, whereas those who did not find it helpful had a rate of 50%. Advocates claim that if more aggressive measures are taken in warning the public about the dangers of smoking, global smoking rates could drop from 24% to 13% by 2030.

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