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Avoidance of tobacco health warnings? an eye-tracking approach

Sillero-Rejon, Carlos, Leonards, Ute, Munafò, Marcus R., Hedge, Craig, Hoek, Janet, Toll, Benjamin, Gove, Harry, Willis, Isabel, Barry, Rose, Robinson, Abi and Maynard, Olivia M. 2021. Avoidance of tobacco health warnings? an eye-tracking approach. Addiction 116 (1) , pp. 126-138. 10.1111/add.15148

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Abstract

Aims Among three eye‐tracking studies, we examined how cigarette pack features affected visual attention and self‐reported avoidance of and reactance to warnings. Design Study 1: smoking status × warning immediacy (short‐term versus long‐term health consequences) × warning location (top versus bottom of pack). Study 2: smoking status × warning framing (gain‐framed versus loss‐framed) × warning format (text‐only versus pictorial). Study 3: smoking status × warning severity (highly severe versus moderately severe consequences of smoking). Setting University of Bristol, UK, eye‐tracking laboratory. Participants Study 1: non‐smokers (n = 25), weekly smokers (n = 25) and daily smokers (n = 25). Study 2: non‐smokers (n = 37), smokers contemplating quitting (n = 37) and smokers not contemplating quitting (n = 43). Study 3: non‐smokers (n = 27), weekly smokers (n = 26) and daily smokers (n = 26). Measurements For all studies: visual attention, measured as the ratio of the number of fixations to the warning versus the branding, self‐reported predicted avoidance of and reactance to warnings and for study 3, effect of warning on quitting motivation. Findings Study 1: greater self‐reported avoidance [mean difference (MD) = 1.14; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.94, 1.35, P < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.64] and visual attention (MD = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.09, 1.68, P = 0.03, ηp2 = 0.06) to long‐term warnings, but not for reactance (MD = 0.14, 95% CI = –0.04, 0.32, P = 0.12, ηp2 = 0.03). Increased visual attention to warnings on the upper versus lower half of the pack (MD = 1.8; 95% CI = 0.33, 3.26, P = 0.02, ηp2 = 0.08). Study 2: higher self‐reported avoidance of (MD = 0.70; 95% CI = 0.59,0.80, P < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.61) and reactance to (MD = 0.37; 95% CI = 0.27, 0.47, P < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.34) loss‐framed warnings but little evidence of a difference for visual attention (MD = 0.52; 95% CI = –0.54, 1.58, P = 0.30, ηp2 = 0.01). Greater visual attention, avoidance and reactance to pictorial versus text‐only warnings (all P s < 0.001, ηp2 > 0.25). Study 3: greater self‐reported avoidance of (MD = 0.37; 95% CI = 0.25, 0.48, P < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.33) and reactance to (MD = 0.14; 95% CI = 0.05, 0.23, P = 0.003, ηp2 = 0.11) highly severe warnings but findings were inconclusive as to whether there was a difference in visual attention (MD = –0.55; 95% CI = –1.5, 0.41, P = 0.24, ηp2 = 0.02). Conclusions Subjective and objective (eye‐tracking) measures of avoidance of health warnings on cigarette packs produce different results, suggesting these measure different constructs. Visual avoidance of warnings indicates low‐level disengagement with warnings, while self‐reported predicted avoidance reflects higher‐level engagement with warnings.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0965-2140
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 29 May 2020
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2021 11:56
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/133932

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