Young adult smokers' neural response to graphic cigarette warning labels

Adam E. Green, Darren Mays, Emily B. Falk, Donna Vallone, Natalie Gallagher, Amanda Richardson, Kenneth P. Tercyak, David B. Abrams, Raymond S. Niaura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: The study examined young adult smokers' neural response to graphic warning labels (GWLs) on cigarette packs using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Methods: Nineteen young adult smokers (M age 22.9, 52.6% male, 68.4% non-white, M 4.3 cigarettes/day) completed pre-scan, self-report measures of demographics, cigarette smoking behavior, and nicotine dependence, and an fMRI scanning session. During the scanning session participants viewed cigarette pack images (total 64 stimuli, viewed 4 s each) that varied based on the warning label (graphic or visually occluded control) and pack branding (branded or plain packaging) in an event-related experimental design. Participants reported motivation to quit (MTQ) in response to each image using a push-button control. Whole-brain blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional images were acquired during the task. Results: GWLs produced significantly greater self-reported MTQ than control warnings (p < .001). Imaging data indicate stronger neural activation in response to GWLs than the control warnings at a cluster-corrected threshold p < .001 in medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, medial temporal lobe, and occipital cortex. There were no significant differences in response to warnings on branded versus plain cigarette packages. Conclusions: In this sample of young adult smokers, GWLs promoted neural activation in brain regions involved in cognitive and affective decision-making and memory formation and the effects of GWLs did not differ on branded or plain cigarette packaging. These findings complement other recent neuroimaging GWL studies conducted with older adult smokers and with adolescents by demonstrating similar patterns of neural activation in response to GWLs among young adult smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-32
Number of pages5
JournalAddictive Behaviors Reports
Volume3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Keywords

  • Cigarettes
  • Graphic warning label
  • Neuroimaging
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Green, A. E., Mays, D., Falk, E. B., Vallone, D., Gallagher, N., Richardson, A., Tercyak, K. P., Abrams, D. B., & Niaura, R. S. (2016). Young adult smokers' neural response to graphic cigarette warning labels. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 3, 28-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2016.02.001