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An argument against drinking and smoking advertisements

Like Tweet Pocket Anti-smoking ads are everywhere. The government puts them on every cigarette packet and spend millions creating clever television campaigns to enlighten us about the associated health problems.

They show us, often graphically, how smoking clogs our arteries, turns our lungs black, and causes our cells to mutate. Undoubtedly, they teach us about the dangers of smoking, but the real question is… …do they help you quit? Well, as you can probably guess — not quite.

Debate: Smoking

In fact, there is growing psychological research that suggests these types of anti-smoking ads are not just ineffective but can make the process of giving up harder than it already is. Oh, they can also make you gain weight too. Pay attention to how it makes you feel. From a logical standpoint, the ad works as follows: Every 15 cigarettes you smoke causes a mutation in your cells.

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This advert is trying to terrify us into quitting. Everything in it has been specifically designed to create sensations of disgust, revulsion and terror in the onlooking smoker.

The idea seems like it would work. Everyone knows fear can be a very powerful motivator, and countless ex-smokers will testify this point.

Smoking and drinking: what's the difference?

Take my dad, for example, he gave up overnight after he thought he was experiencing heart attack symptoms — it was a false alarm — but the experience was enough for him to kick the habit.

Getting a huge health scare can be life changing. Here are three research-proven ways that being reminded of your mortality can mess up your efforts for succeeding at your goals — smoking or otherwise.

Seeing adverts or TV programmes that highlight our morbidity can have unfortunate effects on our waistline.

The only problem is, as every neurobiologist knows — stress triggers cravings. So in conclusion, these anti-smoking adverts have some very nasty drawbacks. I think there is.

So who decided that these ads should be the way there are? For example, plenty of smokers who want to quit are against smoking bans, or drastically increasing the prices of cigarettes — even though this would be much more helpful in helping them kick the habit than any gruesome advert. Smokers can go years telling themselves that they should quit or will quit one day in the future without ever taking the required steps.

Well done to all ex-smokers reading this. Because giving up smoking requires lots of willpower, and morbid anti-smoking ads has been shown to deplete willpower, we obviously need to change the approach.

Why Anti Smoking Ads Make You Smoke More, Waste Money and Gain Weight

If you look at the history of smoking, the solution to the anti-smoking movement is obvious: He hired a group of models to walk through a media-populated street while smoking cigarettes.

He called the campaign Torches Of Freedomand it worked extremely well. Before this campaign, it was taboo for women to smoke. What would Bernays have done to make smoking less popular now?

The opposite, of course.

Alcohol is worse than cigarettes

He would have linked smoking with lower social status relative to non-smokers. The fear of losing social status is an exceptionally powerful motivator. As strange as it sounds, threats to our social status can be far more repugnant than threats to our long term health. Call it pride, call it ego, call it whatever you want.

Compare the two cigarette packets. Which one would you least like to purchase?