Research by UIC Economics Professor Leads New Smoking Prevention Study

A new scientific paper authored by Research Scientist Jidong Huang and Frank J. Chaloupka IV, distinguished professor of economics at UIC, on the subject of cigarette packaging, estimate that graphic warning labels could decrease smoking numbers in the United States by 5.3 to 8.6 million. In a study in conjunction with the University of Waterloo and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Canada, the authors found that inclusion of graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging in Canada from 2000 to 2009 decreased smoking rates between 12% and 20%.

The paper's lead author, Dr. Huang explains, "These findings are important for the ongoing initiative to introduce graphic warnings in the United States. The original proposal by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was successfully challenged by the tobacco industry, and the court cited the very low estimated impact on smoking rates as a factor in its judgment. Our analyses corrected for errors in the FDA's analysis, concluding that the effect of graphic warnings on smoking rates would be much stronger than the FDA found. Our results provide much stronger support for the FDA's revised proposal for graphic warnings, which we hope will be forthcoming in the near future."