Graphic Labels Won't Stop Smokers, But These Things Will


Sure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hopes that putting giant, diseased mouths on cigarette packs will persuade you to kick that little habit. But a recently published case study suggests graphic warning labels on packs might not be that effective: Smokers may be less receptive to such fear-inducing stimuli. Similar studies conducted in 2006 and in 2009 found that smokers may even find the death-warnings to be appealing and that the labels would make them more likely to crave a cigarette.

Those results seem counterintuitive (and fly directly in the face of the American Lung Association's conclusions), but–then again–so are some of the things that research has linked to "likely" quitters. Below, we sifted through news-reported academia to provide a few unconventional and more obvious items that were linked to kicking the habit. First off:

  • Smokers are more likely to quit if a pet dog or cat's health is at stake.
  • Smokers who are given cash rewards are three times more likely to quit.
  • Smokers who received texts with motivational messages are more likely to quit.
  • Smokers who decided to quit on a spur of the moment whim (as opposed to planning) are more likely to quit.
  • Smokers who have friends who quit are more likely to quit.
  • Older smokers are more likely to quit.
  • Lucky smokers without a genetic predisposition to cigarettes are more likely to quit.
  • Eating vegetables and dairy-based foods make cigarettes supposedly taste worse (which in theory would make smokers eating these foods more likely to quit. The things that make cigarettes taste better are booze, caffeine, and meat.)
  • Smokers who joined telephone quit lines that told them how good their life will be after quitting were more likely to kick the habit than those that said "you will die sooner if you don't quit." (The second method, by the way, will probably just annoy a smoker.)

Want to add to this story? Comment below or send the author of this post, Erik Hayden, an email. Have a hot tip or story idea? Let us know on the Open Wire.

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