Evaluating the pictorial warnings on tobacco products in Arabian Gulf countries against other international pictorial warnings

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Few assessments of pictorial warnings (PWs) on cigarette packs implemented in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been done.


This article includes two cross-sectional studies. In Study 1, convenience samples of adults from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (n=111) and USA (n=115) participated in a consumer survey to rate a total of nine PWs from the GCC, Australia and the UK. Outcome measures were affective responses to PWs and concerns about smoking. In Study 2, tobacco control experts (n=14) from multiple countries rated the same PWs on a potential efficacy scale and completed one open-ended question about each. The PWs were altered to mask their country of origin. Analyses compared ranking on multiple outcomes and examined ratings by country of origin and by smoking status.


In the consumer survey, participants from both countries rated the PWs from GCC lower than PWs from other countries on the two measures. The mixed-model analysis showed significant differences between the PWs from Australia and those from the GCC and between the PWs from the UK and those from the GCC (p<0.001) in the consumer and expert samples. The experts’ comments about the PWs implemented in the GCC were negative overall and confirmed previously identified themes about effective PWs.


This study shows PWs originating from the GCC had significantly lower ratings than those implemented in Australia and the UK. The GCC countries may need to re-evaluate the currently implemented PWs and update them periodically.

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