Smoking Scare Tactics Backfire

This is from an op-ed in the New York Times.

Cigarette LungsEach subject lay in the scanner for about an hour while we projected on a small screen a series of cigarette package labels from various countries – including statements like "smoking kills" and "smoking causes fatal lung cancers." We found that the warnings prompted no blood flow to the amygdala, the part of the brain that registers alarm, or to the part of the cortex that would be involved in any effort to register disapproval.

To the contrary, the warning labels backfired: they stimulated the nucleus accumbens, sometimes called the "craving spot," which lights up on f.M.R.I. whenever a person craves something, whether it's alcohol, drugs, tobacco or gambling.

Comments (4)

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  1. Eric says:

    Hey. Just reading this post made me want a cigarette.

  2. Ross says:

    I agree with Eric, but the photo is a real turnoff.

  3. Dan Smith says:

    It’s not hard to imagine even a non-smoker, trapped in the gun barrel of a brain scanner, fantasizing about smoking rather than ruminating like a Puritan on the evils of tobacco. The study is a joke.

  4. Joe Pea says:

    Fuck smoking. If you can’t quit, then you’re just a pathetic loser with no will power and nothing to live for.