Those Gross Cigarette Warnings? Teens Don't Care

Non-smoking teens do, though, UK study finds

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 8, 2013 4:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – Does putting a photo of a cancerous lung or rotting teeth on a cigarette pack really deter young people from smoking? Not for teens who already smoke, finds a new UK study—though they can have some effect in non-smokers and occasional smokers. The study of 2,800 teens aged 11 to 16 found that the 10% of those who smoked regularly were not put off enough by the gory images to ditch the habit—some did buy cases to cover up the images, though, the AFP reports.

Though the gross labels have been barred in the US, more than 60 countries now require them. The researchers believe part of the problem is that the warning pictures—on UK packs, at least—haven't been updated in five years, so kids may have grown desensitized, reports the International Business Times. On the upside, the study found that an increased number of British young folks identified as non-smokers or only experimental smokers. Perhaps the kids aren't paying attention to what's on cigarette packs because they're all puffing on e-cigs now?

A man shows his cigarette package covered by a warning that reads in Spanish "Smoking, you stink," top, and "Smoking causes bad breath" in Montevideo, Uruguay.   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
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