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Original Research

Ohio Appalachian residents’ views on smoke-free laws and cigarette warning labels

Submitted: 4 October 2011
Revised: 9 November 2011
Published: 3 February 2012

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Author(s) : Reiter PL, Wewers ME, Paskett ED, Klein EG, Katz ML.

Citation: Reiter PL, Wewers ME, Paskett ED, Klein EG, Katz ML.  Ohio Appalachian residents’ views on smoke-free laws and cigarette warning labels. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2012; 12: 1945. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=1945 (Accessed 20 October 2017)

ABSTRACT

Introduction:  Smoke-free laws and the addition of graphic warning labels to cigarette packages represent public health policies that can potentially reduce smoking and smoking-related disease. The attitudes and beliefs relating to these policies were examined among residents of Ohio Appalachia, a mostly rural region with high smoking prevalence among its residents.
Methods:  Focus groups were conducted with participants from Ohio Appalachia during the summer of 2007. Groups included healthcare providers (n=37), community leaders (n=31), parents (n=19), and young adult women aged 18-26 years (n=27). 
Results:  Most participants were female (94%), non-Hispanic White (94%), and married (65%). Participants believed that most non-smokers supported Ohio’s enforced statewide comprehensive smoke-free law that began in 2007, while some smokers opposed the law due to a perceived infringement of their rights. They also reported that most residents and local businesses were abiding by and enforcing the law. Participants supported the addition of graphic warning labels to cigarette packages in the USA. They believed that such warning labels could help deter adolescents and adult non-smokers from smoking initiation, particularly if the negative aesthetic effects of smoking were emphasized. However, they felt the labels would be less effective among current smokers and older individuals living in their communities. 
Conclusions:  Participants generally held positive views about both the smoke-free law and the addition of graphic warning labels to cigarette packages in the USA. These tobacco-related public health policies are promising strategies for potentially reducing smoking and its associated diseases among residents living in Appalachia. Additional research is needed to further examine support for these policies among more diverse Appalachian populations.

Key words: Appalachia, graphic warning label, smoke-free law, smoking, USA.

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