4005.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - Board 10

Abstract #11379

Warning label wars: The proposed new Israeli cigarette warning labels and the attribution dilemma

Nurit Guttman, PhD1, Yair Amikam2, Hanna Peleg, MA3, and Boaz Lev, MD, MPA3. (1) Department of Communication, Tel-Aviv University, P. O. Box 39040, Tel-Aviv, Tel-Aviv, 69978, Israel, 972-3-640-9010, guttman@post.tau.ac.il, (2) Office of Information and International Relations, Israel Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel, (3) Office of the Associate Director General, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel

An advisory committee to the Israel Ministry of Health has been grappling with the content of newly proposed cigarette warning labels and to whom to attribute them, while anticipating a battle with the tobacco lobby on all counts. At present, the single warning label plainly states that "The Ministry of Health Determines: Smoking is Harmful to Health." Current legislation allows for the introduction of a series of rotating new warnings, but those need to be approved by a parliamentary committee. Ten new warnings are proposed by the advisory committee established by the Ministry of Health that consists of ministry officials, anti-tobacco advocates and health and other professionals. Two surveys were conducted to address the question of attribution: a national phone survey (n=1000) of the general adult population and a face-to-face survey of 200 adult smokers. Smokers tended to find the attribution to "medical studies" the most credible and persuasive whereas non-smokers were slightly more likely to prefer to attribute the warnings to the Ministry of Health, explaining that it is "responsible for public health" or "has the authority." Differences in opinions regarding the attribution were also found among 'light' and 'heavy' smokers and were associated with education level and religious beliefs. These findings are used to support the proposal for the new warnings that contains new attributions and to counter anticipated tobacco lobby objections. A national media campaign will accompany the introduction of the new warnings, combining advocacy issues and an elaboration of the health hazards specified in the warnings.

Learning Objectives: To learn about the cigarette warning label situatiuon in Israel and to compare it to the situation in other nations. To assess the different considerations and current limitations involved in proposing new cigarette warning labels. To describe the dilemma and conflicting priorities regarding whom health warnings should be attributed to. To discuss ways new warning labels can serve as a trigger to a national anti-smoking campaign

Keywords: Tobacco, Media Campaigns

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Israel Ministry of Health
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: Member of the Israel Ministry of Health Warning Labels Committee

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA