The graphic image of the consequences of cigarette smoking in advertising

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The graphic image of the consequences of cigarette smoking in advertising

By Honor Whiteman Do graphic warning labels on cigarette packets really help smokers consider the health risks?

Leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment

Yes, according to the results of a new study, which found that such images prompt activity in areas of the brain associated with decision-making, emotion and memory. Understanding how graphic warnings on cigarette packs impact brain activity may shed light on how they can help smokers quit.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the US, responsible for killing more thanAmericans every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDCsmoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by two to four times and raises the risk of lung cancer by around 25 times.

Harm Smoking Is Injurious To Health Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Statistics like these emphasize the need for strategies to reduce smoking rates, and one such strategy has been the introduction of graphic warning labels GWLs to cigarette packaging.

To date, GWLs on cigarette packaging have been implemented in more than 65 countries, spurred by increasing evidence that the warnings help smokers consider the health risks and may even help them quit the habit.

The US Food and Drug Administration FDA proposed the implementation of such warnings inthough legal challenges from tobacco companies delayed the process. It is now unclear when the federal agency will action their proposals.

Brain scans measured neurological response to GWLs For their study, Mays and colleagues sought to determine the underlying biological mechanisms that might explain why GWLs on cigarette packaging encourage smokers to think about the health consequences.

The team showed 19 current smokers aged a series of images of either GWLs - consisting of a graphic and text - text-only warning labels or plain cigarette packaging for 4 seconds each.

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The GWLs included an image of an open mouth with rotted teeth and a tumor on the lower lip, for example, alongside some text that said: The team used functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI to scan the brains of each participant as they viewed the warnings, allowing them to analyze brain activity.

Additionally, the subjects were required to use a push-button control after viewing each image to state how much each one made them want to quit smokingranging from 1 not at all to 4 a lot.

GWLs induced activity in emotional, decision-making brain regions The team found that GWLs were much more likely to motivate participants to quit smoking than text-only warnings and plain packaging. Why is smoking bad for you? Furthermore, when the subjects viewed the GWLs, they demonstrated activity in certain areas of the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain.

The graphic image of the consequences of cigarette smoking in advertising

Co-lead study author Adam Green, PhD, of the Department of Psychology at Georgetown, explains that the amygdala responds to stimuli that are emotionally powerful, especially fear and disgust, which are emotions that often influence decision-making. Tobacco is still the leading preventable cause of death in the US and the growing body of research showing the effectiveness of warning labels should energize policy-making.smoking.4 Health warnings on cigarette packs have been found to inform smokers about the health hazards of smoking, encourage smokers to quit, and prevent nonsmokers from starting to smoke.


Warnings on tobacco products are an ideal way of communicating with smokers because they pair the warning directly with smoking behavior. Does the graphic image on cigarette packages showing the dire health consequences of smoking really affect regular smokers?

Feb 08,  · The Tobacco Control Act required nine new health warning statements on cigarette packages and advertising and directed FDA to issue regulations requiring color graphic images depicting the negative health consequences of smoking to accompany the nine warning statements.

For anyone born in the mid-twentieth century, The Hidden Persuaders is an intriguing look at the beginnings of advertising and marketing as it influenced our wants and needs, our purchasing decisions, our political views and even (possibly a stretch) led to our current economic situation. is Canada's largest online news site.

The graphic image of the consequences of cigarette smoking in advertising

From national coverage and issues to local headlines and stories across the country, the Star is your home for Canadian news and perspectives. Page 1 >> Owner's Manual smart forfour Page 2. Symbols In this Owner's Manual, you will find the following symbols: WARNING Warning notes make you aware of dangers which could pose a threat to your health or life, or to the health and life of others.

The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard