A qualitative content analysis of cigarette health warning labels in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States

Rebecca J Haines-Saah, Kirsten Bell, Simone Dennis

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The legislation of health warning labels on cigarette packaging is a major focus for tobacco control internationally and is a key component of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. This population-level intervention is broadly supported as a vital measure for warning people about the health consequences of smoking. However, some components of this approach warrant close critical inspection. Through a qualitative content analysis of the imagery used on health warning labels from 4 countries, we consider how this imagery depicts people that smoke. By critically analyzing this aspect of the visual culture of tobacco control, we argue that this imagery has the potential for unintended consequences, and obscures the social and embodied contexts in which smoking is experienced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e61-9
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Early online date18 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Humans
  • Product Labeling
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco Products
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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