Well Being

Anti-Smoking Ads Go For Shock Value, But Will They Work?

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By 2013, the images above will cover 50% of the surface area on cigarette cartons. The Food and Drug Administration's new health warning labels — the first redesign in over two decades — are not only aiming to be big; they're aiming to grab attention with shocking images of the negative health effects of smoking. They're certainly more attention-grabbing than the smaller, text-only ads that have been printed on cigarette and tobacco packaging for the last 25 years, but will the shocking images really work?

While many people believe that shocking images aren't a great way to motivate people to take care of their health, the FDA clearly disagrees. The nine new labels, which were chosen out of 36 images originally released last Fall for public review, all feature perturbing visuals of the negative effects of smoking, from a man with a tracheotomy to images of a mother blowing smoke into her baby's face.

Joanna Cohen, PhD, director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins University, told Huffington Post why she thinks they'll work:

What we've seen in terms of best practices globally is that you want pictures and accompanying text that elicit an emotion from the viewer. It makes people react.

And some even think the new labels (and their size) is still modest compared to initiatives being proposed in other countries (earlier this month, for example, Australia proposed that logos and colored labels be banished from tobacco packaging and replaced with a simple product label and health warnings).

Do you think the packaging is too extreme? Do you think it will work? Tell us what you think in the comments section, below: