BACKGROUND: Many countries have been legally prescribing graphic health warning labels on cigarette package as a part of their national policy of smoking cessation. This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of graphic health warning labels of Canada, Singapore and European union, in Korean for smoking cessation. METHODS: From February to July in 2005, we surveyed 110 people who were high school students and college students. After showing them the 64 graphic health warning labels (16 from Canada, 6 from Singapore and 42 from European union), the self recorded questionnaires were collected. RESULTS: The effectiveness for smoking cessation was related to the arousal levels of visual effects and it had the same result for each country in which we researched. The high arousal loss-framed graphic health warning labels were more effective than the gain-framed low arousal ones. CONCLUSION: To quit smoking, it can be reasonably concluded that high and negative images of health that were shown on warning labels of cigarette packages were effective. Hereafter, it is recommended more useful and proper designs of graphic warning labels be developed and applied.