Images vs. Addiction

23 Jun

Images can be very powerful. When used effectively they can certainly influence behavior, leading use to make purchases or decisions, giving us instructional directions, and even warning of potential dangers.

Yesterday, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released 9 images that will be required to appear on all cigarette packages by Fall 2012. The images are intended to fill the top half of both the front and back of each package. Obviously, the FDA hopes that the images will deter smokers from purchasing cigarettes and inspire them to kick the habit.

Yes, some of the images are graphic and some strike an emotional cord, but can they overpower nicotine addiction? Only time will tell. Most smokers at this point are aware of the risks and are still unable or unwilling to quit. Do you think these visual reminders of the potential consequences will result in decreased cigarette sales? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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One Response to “Images vs. Addiction”

  1. Charles Kenny June 24, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    I doubt these images will result in decreased tobacco sales.

    Firstly, the images themselves are not overwhelmingly shocking. Yes, the bad teeth, the dead body, the guy with the hole in his throat and the diseased lung are all thought-provoking. However, much like PETA with their graphic images of animal cruelty, people continue to buy plenty of chicken containing the Colonel’s secret recipe.

    That is because there is a disconnect between the picture and the user. If I am a smoker, my lung might look like that, but that is not my lung, therefore I am not as concerned. If perhaps smokers were shown an actual picture of their lung, they might change their tune.

    On top of that, the size of a pack of smokes is not that large and I would have concerns about the quality of the photos once they are produced. A poor reproduction is far worse than no picture at all because the message is almost entirely lost.

    The pictures may be stirring debate now, but once they are commonplace, smokers (and potential smokers) will be no more likely to pay attention to them than any of the other warnings they receive.

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