Smoking Can Reduce Your Ability To…

Last year in the city where I live they outlawed smoking indoors in public places.

Actually they did this quite a while back, but they had made an exception for hotels, pubs and bars. Now they’ve extended it to these places too. You have to have an outdoors area now if you want to have a place to smoke.

Australia is one of quite a few countries around the world that has got really excited about images on cigarette packets.

Someone showed me a cigarette packet that they bought off the street.

Presumably it was an illegal import because it didn’t have the local warning label or the gruesome pictures on it.

2006 Cigarette Health Warnings From AustraliaThis graphic type of warning label is meant to produce a nemotional/physical reaction, but does it do this for everyone?

I couldn’t find a picture of the most recent ones in Australia that get even more in your face.

You’ve probably heard the one about the man who avoids the packets that say smoking causes impotency, and instead only smokes the cigarettes from packets that warns about smoking when you are pregnant, because he knows that he’s safe with that one.

Well unfortunately it’s true.

People can do amazing things with their minds.

Our bodies can also do much more than we think they can.

It is almost universal to cough if you smoke a cigarette for the first time, but our bodies compensate and overcome this.

These mind and body adaptations are amazing.

Maybe people who smoke are rebels in the first place, but maybe it is a learned ability as well.

If so, I propose a new label on cigarette packets:

WARNING: Smoking can reduce your ability to heed warnings.

What do you think?

-Dr Martin Russell

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3 thoughts on “Smoking Can Reduce Your Ability To…”

  1. I’ve never seen these image warnings before. Have you seen a study about if they work better? My husband is sooo stubborn. He’s a physicist, so he thinks he’s so smart. He’s been smoking since he was 12. He coughs a lot, though, so he considers it from time to time and tried the patch and other things for a while. His father also smoked from a young age and didn’t get lung cancer and emphasema until he was 75 – 9 mos. was a fairly quick death, so no incentive to quit there. Don’t know if the image would help, but I support any improvement.

    BTW, thanks for your excellent blog; I think I’ll subscribe.

  2. Joyce,

    Here is the page I sourced the image from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_packaging_warning_messages#Australia

    The current Australian images are even better ie more graphic.

    Do they work? I haven’t seen the evidence, and evidence would be difficult to interpret, but I’m not excited by it. That’s the reason for the post.

    For your husband, I’d suggest reverse psychology, better thought of as paradoxical intervention. Done right this can be particularly powerful.

    Otherwise it is good to know that one estimate is that people on average stop about 6 times before they stop completely.

    BTW you’re very welcome about the blog, and yes, you did subscribe.

  3. Phil Cooper says:

    As commendable as the government’s latest effort is at shocking smokers into quitting, it WON’T WORK. My cousin died of a heart attack less than a year ago. He was barely 51 and was a smoker, like his father before him. His father developed gangrene in his leg and it was amputated, first below the knee, then a second time above the knee. If this kind of personal experience can’t make someone quit smoking, no amount of posters, television ads or graphics on tobacco product packages will do it either. Tobacco is one of the most addictive substances known to man.

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