The sight of diseased livers, bloodshot eyeballs and rotting teeth on cigarette packets has almost no impact on young smokers, who view grotesque images as irrelevant, a new study suggests.Recall anti-smoking advocate Richard Edwards' plenary address from a couple of years ago.
Instead, researchers from the University of Otago found warnings that play on young people's fear of social ostracism - and how unattractive they look and smell - are most effective.
Taglines like "Kissing a smoker is not a turn-on", "Everyone can smell a smoker", and "Smoking stuffs your lungs", had the biggest impact on a group of 18 to 30-year-olds.
We need to be very careful that interventions do not stigmatise smokers. Once again this involves keeping in close touch with how smokers are feeling through in-depth research. These quotes show how the experience of stigma among smokers and practice of stigmatising behaviours can be very real. This reduces support among smokes (and also among non-smokers) for tobacco control and the tobacco free vision, and may drive smokers together in a sort of Dunkirk spirit against the perceived assault from a marginalising society or harden the determination of smokers to smoke, as encapsulated in this last quote. We should be anti-smoking, but never anti-smoker.I look forward to Otago's future recommendations to combat obesity by telling the obese that nobody likes them.