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Impact of cigarette package warnings on attitudes towards sharing and gifting cigarettes in China: a nationwide study of smokers and non-smokers

Abstract

Background Sharing and gifting cigarettes are common in China. These social practices promote cigarette consumption, and consequently may reduce quit rates in China. This study investigated sharing and gifting cigarettes, and the relationship of observing pictorial health warnings to attitudes towards sharing and gifting cigarettes in China.

Methods We conducted an online nationwide cross-sectional study of 9818 adults in China. Experiences of sharing and gifting cigarettes, and attitudes towards sharing and gifting cigarettes before and after viewing text and pictorial health warnings on the packages were assessed, and compared between smokers and non-smokers.

Results Most current smokers reported experiences of sharing (97%) and gifting (around 90%) cigarettes. Less than half of non-smokers reported sharing cigarettes and receiving gifted cigarettes, but over half (61.4%) gave cigarettes as a gift to others. More than half of non-smokers but less than 10% of smokers disagreed with sharing and gifting cigarettes. After observing both text and pictorial health warnings on the packages, disagreement with sharing and gifting cigarettes increased by more than 10 percentage points among both smokers and non-smokers.

Conclusion Having pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages may reduce sharing and gifting cigarettes in China.

  • packaging and labelling
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • public opinion
  • low/middle income country
  • cessation
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