The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled last week 36 proposed warning labels for cigarette packages, including one showing an emaciated cancer patient.
Public health officials hope the new labels will convince smokers to quit and discourage potential smokers from starting. The labels will cover half the surface area of a pack or carton of cigarettes, and a fifth of any advertisements for them. The labels are required under a law passed last year that gave the FDA the power to regulate, but not ban, tobacco products.
The final warning labels will be selected in June and tobacco companies will have 15 months from that time to start including them on the front and back of all packaging.
Advertising and health communication experts from The University of Texas at Austin are available to discuss strategies for effective public health campaigns, communicating risk, communicating with low health-literate audiences and communicating about health within close, personal relationships.
Public Health Communication
- Ron Anderson, associate professor of advertising and public relations
Anderson conducts research on public health campaigns, risk communication and crisis management.
- LeeAnn Kahlor, associate professor of advertising and public relations
Kahlor's primary research interest is in health and environmental risk communication with an emphasis on information seeking and processing. Her most recent projects focus on cancer risk information seeking, general health risk information seeking, information seeking related to global warming risks and risk information seeking related to energy alternatives.
- Brad Love, assistant professor of advertising
Love's primary research interests include investigating the persuasive capabilities of mass media, particularly as applied to pro-social topics such as public health. This includes examining the social and psychological elements necessary for persuasion and the influence that digital media can have on the process.
- Michael Mackert, assistant professor of advertising
Mackert researches communication with lower literate and lower health literate audiences, which includes the use of imagery and emotion to drive people's behavior vs. text warnings, which might be harder for some people to understand.
- Jef Richards, professor of advertising
Richards researches advertising law and regulation, tobacco advertising and First Amendment and commercial speech, among other areas.
- Pat Stout, professor of advertising, the John P. McGovern Regents Professor in Health and Medical Science Communication
Stout's research focuses on viewer response to persuasive messages and advertising, with particular attention to individuals' emotional response to advertising and health-promotion messages. She is interested in the role of social marketing and the effectiveness of health communication.
- Yongjun Sung, assistant professor of advertising
Sung studies cigarette advertising in youth magazines, as well as the role of cigarette promotion in marketing.
Interpersonal Health Communication
- René Dailey, assistant professor of communication studies
Dailey researches family communication. Her research focuses on how acceptance and challenge from parents and siblings are related to children's self-esteem and identity, and communication patterns. Her health research focuses on family communication about weight management.
- Erin Donovan-Kicken, assistant professor of communication studies
Donovan-Kicken studies interpersonal and health communication. She has expertise in processes of disclosure, topic avoidance, uncertainty management, social support and persuasion in a variety of health contexts. Her research centers on the ways people communicatively cope with major life stressors, with an emphasis on cancer survivorship and psychological health.
- Sally Planalp, professor of communication studies
Planalp's primary area of expertise is interpersonal communication with emphases in face-to-face interaction, close relationships, emotion and health communication. Her major projects are collaborating on a communication training program for Poison Control Centers and investigating the relationships between hospice volunteers and patients.