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Peebles, Kathryn; Hall, Marissa G.; Pepper, Jessica K.; Byron, M. Justin; Noar, Seth M.; & Brewer, Noel T. (2016). Adolescents' Responses to Pictorial Warnings on Their Parents' Cigarette Packs. Journal of Adolescent Health, 59(6), 635-641. PMCID: PMC5341376


PURPOSE: Pictorial cigarette pack warnings are a promising policy solution to increase smoking cessation among adults. However, little is known regarding adolescents' responses to pictorial warnings, particularly in real-world settings.
METHODS: Participants were 112 adolescent children, ages 13-17, whose parents received either text-only warnings on the side of their cigarette packs or pictorial warnings on the top half of the front and back of their cigarette packs for 4 weeks as part of a trial. We measured adolescents' recall and recognition of these warnings, negative emotional reactions to the warnings, perceived effectiveness of the warnings, social interactions about the warnings, and smoking risk beliefs.
RESULTS: Adolescents accurately recalled pictorial warnings more often than text-only warnings (82% vs. 19%, p < .001). Recognition of warnings was also higher for pictorial than text-only warnings (82% vs. 34%, p < .001). Pictorial warnings drew greater attention (p < .001), elicited greater negative emotional reactions (p < .05), and sparked more social interactions (p < .01) than text-only warnings.
CONCLUSIONS: Pictorial warnings on cigarette packs may have important effects on adolescent children of smokers. Future research should further investigate the impact of such messages on adolescents' susceptibility to smoking initiation and interest in quitting smoking, particularly as the United States and other countries work to implement pictorial warning regulations.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Adolescent Health


Peebles, Kathryn
Hall, Marissa G.
Pepper, Jessica K.
Byron, M. Justin
Noar, Seth M.
Brewer, Noel T.