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Graphic images on packs of cigarettes not a deterrent for smokers, says study


A new study suggests that graphic images on packs of cigarettes do not stop smokers from smoking, UPI reports

Researchers at the University of Illinois said that while smokers and non-smokers agree in their disdain for the pictures, the images made people feel like their freedoms were being inhibited, and in some cases encouraged people's to smoke.

"We always measure and look at the intended effects, like encouraging people to quit smoking, but sometimes we don't remember to look at what else these messages are doing that we're not thinking about, like causing reactance," Nicole LaVoie, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois, said in a press release.

"Our goal is to think about what can we do, what messages can we construct, that are effective for the whole, but also target these groups that are the most in need of help."

The study was published in the journal Communication Research.

The researchers studied 435 undergraduate college students between the age of 18 and 25, 17.5 percent of whom were current smokers.

Half the smokers and half the non-smokers were given packs of cigarettes that either had one of seven graphic images on them or only the text-based packaging generally in use. They were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their personality and reaction to the package.

The researchers reported that most participants had a negative reaction to the graphic images. Both smokers and nonsmokers termed the packaging bothered them as an affront to their freedom of choice.

"If these individuals see things as freedom threats, they are going to be more attracted to perform the threatened behavior," LaVoie said,

"we might actually be doing harm to a group that might need the most help if they're battling an addiction to smoking."

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