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Results Neuro Against Smoking

By Simone Oude Luttikhuis

Health Warning Messages More Effective When Showing That Smokers Harm Other People

Barcelona - March 25, 2015

This is the conclusion of a pro-bono study that used neuromarketing techniques, initiated by the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association(NMSBA). The ‘Neuro Against Smoking (NAS) Project’ is an international study supporting a tobacco free environment and healthy lifestyle.

The remarkable part of this research lies in the way it was conducted. The study brings new valuable insights to the existing discussion on cigarettes warnings by integrating traditional survey methods with implicit measures - Reaction Time - which allows to explore consumers’ impulsive and automatic attitudes, provided by NEUROHM.

By combining traditional research methods with implicit Reaction Time the study came with two findings which showed that using implicit measures strengthens the result of traditional research.

  • 1.       Pictorial health warning messages are more effective than text messages only, and this is a culturally independent finding. In general, warning with pictures reached higher declarative scores and at the same time the certainty of those opinions is elevated. Moreover, even if textual warnings were evaluated equally high in declarations as pictorial warnings, on emotional level warnings containing pictures are still more convincing therefore attitudes toward them are more certain, as revealed by neuro Reaction Time measure.
  • 2.       Communication  oriented toward harm done to self and others is more effective than warnings focused only on smokers’ health. Again, this outcome is strong and culturally independent.  

The NAS Project also shows, that the data gathered solely by explicit declarative methods provide clear insights only in 50% of cases. However, applyingReaction Time measures enriches this score significantly:  over 25% additional insights can be derived thanks to combining explicit and implicit methods and therefore more findings can be identified. It proves that application of combined explicit and implicit measures is beneficial when looking for the most effective solution and identifying drivers

These findings  not only support actions initiated by the WHO – e.g. introducing pictorial warnings - but also suggests that pictorial messages should be carefully selected to maximize their effectiveness).

 The NAS Project promotes healthy lifestyle, supports the tobacco free environment and thus helps societies and governments in their fight against smoking.  The test was held in 24 countries, spanning 6 continents.

For more information about the NMSBA, the study and the participating countries, please visit www.nmsba.com/neuro-against-smoking