The battle for plain packaging begins.

Sorry I have been away for a while. Anyway as the title suggests tobacco companies will come under increasing pressure by governments to rid themselves of their company trade marks and logos, to be replaced with the medical pornography of pictures of lung cancer etc.  There is no empirical evidence as it has not been tried anywhere yet, and any country who does try maybe taken to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to have its wrists slapped.

The main reason for this post is that in 2009 the following academic institutions researched  smokers attitudes to the medical pornography:

New York University, Department of Psychology, 6 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, United States
b University of Basel, Department of Psychology, Missionsstrasse 60/62, CH-4055 Basel, Switzerland
c University of Würzburg, Lehrstuhl für Psychologie II, Röntgenring 10, D-97070 Würzburg, Germany

The results were surprising due to the psychological condition know as “Terror Managment,” from Ernest Becker who argues that “.. all human action is taken to ignore or avoid the inevitability of death.” Here is a summary from Jerry Fink and the 3rd quote is from the paper.

“A 2010 New York University study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (46,1) found that the anxiety evoked from the graphic images on cigarette packages could actually cause an increase in smoking…”

“…cigarette package images may cause people who already smoke to smoke more, as cigarette smoking is closely linked to one’s sense of self. Adolescents and young adults are particularly prone to coping in this manner. When presented with the threat of mortality, teens and young adults who already smoke may become more entrenched in their smoking habits in an attempt to bolster their fragile and developing sense of self.”

” Results suggest that to the degree that smoking is a source of self-esteem, later attitudes towards smoking become more positive if the warning message is mortality-salient. On the contrary, if the warning is terrifying but not mortality-salient and relates to the source of self-esteem, smoking attitudes become more negative with higher smoking-based self-esteem.”

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2 Responses to The battle for plain packaging begins.

  1. ChrisB says:

    The whole anti-smoking movement has chosen to alienate smokers in any way it can. The outcome is quite obvious.
    No smoker encourages others to smoke but, despite this, all smokers are a declared ‘enemy’. Those who have made a lifestyle choice have had all respect for them removed and replaced with institutional hatred.
    Basic human nature is for the abused to dig in and fight back.

  2. Jay says:

    I first heard about ‘terror management’ 30 years ago in relation to marketing strategies. If I remember, toothpaste or toothbrush manufacturers were trying to increase sales but found that consumers ignored the dire warnings of dentists of the consequences of poor dental hygiene on the grounds that it would never happen to them.

    There is a double irony in the fact that the SHS scam was manufactured in response to smokers disregarding health warnings yet cig packet porn is still considered by TC as an effective tool.

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