The University of South Carolina just put out this release:
Up in smoke: Research shows graphic images can deter smokers
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but its worth might just be measurable in terms of lives, according to research by a University of South Carolina public health professor.
That’s because visual imagery on cigarette packages deters smoking, and the more graphic they are, the better the results, said Jim Thrasher, assistant professor in the Arnold School of Public Health Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior.
“Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and graphic health warnings are among the most cost-effective interventions that exist,” Thrasher said….
Of course, there’s graphic, and then there’s graphic.
The above image was the winner of a contest in California:
The challenge was to create a anti smoking ad powerful enough to turn people off cigarettes without resorting to the gruesome imagery so prevalent in anti-smoking campaigns. With the help of a couple of dancers, an up-for-anything ad agency and hundreds of yards of Lycra, Los Angeles photographer Ricardo Marenco did just that.“I wanted to evoke a sea of people trapped inside their addiction,” says Marenco, who created the shot for the California Department of Public Health’s billboard and print campaign. To achieve his desired effect, he photographed the dancers individually inside 7-foot-tall Lycra cigarettes. Then he digitally overlaid embers and smoke from real cigarettes on the figures. The ads ran without any words, only a helpline number — the image said it all.
But apparently, you have to be really gross for some people. Below is one of the images that came with the USC release. Why is it in Spanish (“garganta” means “throat”)? Probably because of this part of the release:
As a result of his work with colleagues from Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, Mexico’s Minister of Health adopted their recommendations for which pictorial warnings to put on cigarette packages, which began circulating in September.
Thrasher, who has a joint research and faculty appointment with Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, is also assessing what labels are the most convincing for low socioeconomic status groups…