We conducted a systematic review of the experimental literature on the impact of tobacco-pack pictorial warning labels (PWLs) on youth and young adults.

We systematically searched computerized databases and the reference list of relevant articles. We included studies that used an experimental protocol to assess PWLs. Studies had to report findings for youth or young adult samples (aged < 30 years). Thirty-one studies met the inclusion criteria, with a total sample size of 27506. Two coders independently coded all study characteristics and outcomes.

Twenty-eight studies experimentally evaluated PWLs for cigarette packs while three studies evaluated PWLs for smokeless tobacco packs. Generally, PWLs led to higher attention, stronger cognitive and affective reactions, more negative pack attitudes and smoking attitudes, and increased intentions not to use tobacco products compared to text warnings. PWLs were perceived to be more effective than text warnings for both cigarette packs and smokeless tobacco packs.

The systematic review showed that PWLs on tobacco products are effective across a wide range of tobacco-related outcomes among young people. Gaps in the literature include a lack of research on tobacco initiation and cessation and a dearth of literature on non-cigarette tobacco products.

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Published in Tobacco Induced Diseases, v. 17.

© 2019 Francis D.B.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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