BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Trying to lay off cigarettes is hard. In fact, the actual process of quitting tobacco altogether is even tougher when all of your acquaintances and friends are puffing around. And it would seem that the anti-smoking ads are not as effective as previously thought. According to a new study, the graphic images may not sway smokers to quit their habit.
Why would you smoke in the first place? Because quitting has many health benefits, more than we are able to count, so we shall not make a list of the pros and cons of quitting. Instead, we should divert our attention towards the steps many health agents took in order to advertise about the dangers of smoking.
To put it bluntly, to smoke a cigarette once in a while, it’s not a big deal. Unfortunately for most smokers, the idea of smoking just the one cigarette in the morning alongside a big jug of coffee grows impossible as the days go by. Casual smoking can turn quite fast into addiction. And we know how this story ends: high blood pressure, increased chance of developing lung cancer, malodorous breath, lack of appetite and the list goes on and on.
For many years now, the medical corps and the Government have tried to sway smokers that it is in their best interest to lay off the so-called death sticks. To that extent, ample anti-smoking campaigns were conducted, each of them calling out the medical benefits of quitting.
However, those were not the only measures taken in order to reduce the number of active smokers. Apart from the health campaigns, the Government also approved higher taxes for tobacco products. And laws banning citizens from smoking in public places. The list of restriction goes on and on, each of the measure being labeled as “it’s for your own good”.
Now, another tactic used to discourage people from smoking is placing gruesome images on packs. Usually, the pictures depict patients with large tumors growing on their neck or people on their deathbed.
While these graphical representations of the dangers of smoking were designed to talk people out of smoking or to determine other smokers to quit, it would seem to have had an opposite effect on patients.
According to a new study performed by the University of Illinois, graphic images may not sway smoker to quit their habit. Unfortunately, the graphic-driven campaign’s endeavor seems to have ended up in utter failure.
The study shows that even though smokers are disgusted at the sight of people dying, they feel that their freedom is fringed on. As a result of this, many smokers end up smoking, even more, cigarettes than usual.
In order to see this phenomenon in actions, the team of scientists from the University of Illinois asked the help of 435 undergraduate students. The study subjects had ages between 18 and 25 years old, and approximately 17.5 of them were smoking at that time.
Nicola LaVoie, a doctoral student working on the research project declared that although the anti-smoking campaign anticipated a strong anti-smoking response from the public, the results were far from their initial predictions.
The students were presented with either 7 graphic images or with a text-based label of warning. After studying the images, the candidates were asked to fill in a questionnaire. This questionnaire was used to assess their response towards the images. According to LaVoie, both the smokers and the non-smokers presented with the images were more likely to say that the packing bothered them. Moreover, the candidates considered that the images are an affront to their freedom of choice and that the Government shouldn’t intrude in their personal lives.
LaVoie concluded that graphic images may not sway smokers to quit. In fact, the doctoral student predicted that, in the long run, this method could end up worsening the situation.