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May 12, 1989

Warnings in Tobacco Advertisements: Marlboro Man vs Surgeon General

Author Affiliations

Leo Burnett Company Chicago, Ill

Leo Burnett Company Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1989;261(18):2633. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420180057014

To the Editor.—  The article by Fischer et al1 hypothesizes that warnings on cigarette packages are ineffective for adolescents. Although that hypothesis may be supportable, their study does not adequately demonstrate such support.There are several problems with the method and interpretation of results in this study that limit its usefulness.The results are reported out of context. Since there are no control conditions, one cannot tell if the results support the hypothesis. The authors could have collected results for advertisements other than tobacco advertisements for comparison. For assessing eye movements, they could have compared frequency and duration of fixation to other parts of the advertisements besides the warning.As the authors state, the sample size is too small (n = 45) for a study that is supposed to be generalized to all adolescents.The claim that 8% of mean total viewing time was devoted to the warning is more