Dr. Jim Thrasher, professor of health promotion, education, and behavior at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, has been awarded a $2.7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. With this five-year project, he will evaluate whether public health messages on cigarette package inserts, which are small printed leaflets inside of cigarette packs, can help smokers quit.
To date, Canada is the only country in the world whose labeling policy includes inserts, which provide positive messages about the benefits of quitting and effective strategies to quit. Dr. Thrasher’s prior research suggests that these inserts, along with large pictorial warnings that show the health consequences of smoking, are an extremely promising way to help smokers quit. This study will help determine the effectiveness of Canada’s policy when they implement a new set of inserts and health warning labels in 2022.
The study will also assess the potential effectiveness of inserts with cessation tips and benefits for smokers in the U.S. Through a randomized experiment, Dr. Thrasher and his team will assess smoking cessation outcomes based on whether smokers’ cigarette packs contain no inserts or pictorial warnings (which is current policy in the U.S.), inserts only, pictorial warnings only, or both inserts and pictorial warnings.