Professor Amritav Chakravarti
An LSE-led study of health warnings on tobacco products provided robust evidence of what works to deter smokers, shaping European Union (EU) legislation on smoking reduction.
An estimated 700,000 premature deaths are caused each year in the European Union (EU) by smoking and the annual EU public healthcare expenditure on treating diseases caused by tobacco products is in the region of EUR25 billion.
A research consortium led by LSE conducted a large-scale randomised controlled trial on tobacco product warnings. The study provided robust evidence on the efficacy of combined warnings using both text and images; it also demonstrated the ways in which emotions affect behavioural choices and intentions relating to tobacco use.
The study informed a revised EU Tobacco Products Directive published in 2014 (2014/40/EU), which aimed to reduce tobacco consumption by 2% (equivalent to roughly 2.4 million smokers quitting) over the five years from its implementation in May 2016. Since that date, all tobacco products manufactured for sale throughout the EU have been required to carry specific combined warnings, the selection of which is based on the LSE Consortium study.
Through its direct influence on the Directive, the research has had impacts on the producers and users of tobacco products, as well as wider effects on health services, healthcare spending, and citizens across the EU.
Research underpinning these impacts was conducted in 2012 by Professor Amitav Chakravarti with LSE colleagues Professor George Gaskell (Department of Methodology) and Dr Caroline Rudisill (Department of Health Policy). The LSE researchers joined a multinational team including researchers from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá; Università degli Studi di Milano; University of Leicester; Columbia University; Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona; Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona; and the Centre for North-South Economic Research, Cagliari, Italy.
Read the full case study here.