Warning: Ominous Messages on Cigarette Packs May be Counterproductive
For some smokers, death-related warnings actually increase cigarettes' appeal.
In June, President Obama signed a law requiring tobacco companies to post large, graphic warnings on cigarette packs. Current cautionary statements such as "Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema" and "Smoking is dangerous to your health" will gradually be replaced with more ominous assertions, including "Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease," "Cigarettes cause cancer" and the refreshingly blunt "Smoking can kill you."
But regulators may want to rethink this ashes-to-ashes theme. New research suggests that, for a certain set of smokers, those allusions to death may actually increase the likelihood they'll light up.