If it is true that the most seasoned smokers have become indifferent to the warnings about smoke damage, with images with strong stains of damaged organs on cigarette packets, a new Australian research, by James Cook University in Townsville, indicates that these deterrents prove to be more effective with the younger generations.

The study analysed previous works that involved 16,000 children between 11 and 19 years, concluding that warnings with strong images discouraged them from smoking.

According to Aaron Drovandi, who led the research, this depends on the fact that compared to those who have smoked for a long time, the younger ones were less exposed to warnings. “Desensitisation is the biggest problem. When the same image or the same warning is used many times, and this concerns in particular older people, it stops working”, – he writes on the university’s website.


It would therefore be necessary to change and update these types of messages frequently. “According to Drovandi, the fact that younger smokers are still dissuaded from advertising with shocking images is encouraging, since they represent the first demographic line in the struggle to reduce the damage caused by smoking. “Many adult smokers – he continues – have started smoking in adolescence, so preventing them from starting to smoke at that really critical stage is very important from a public health point of view.”

The study also showed that explicit images of diseased lungs and cancerous mouths have a particular effect on young people, while warnings about impotence and aging of the skin have less impact. “We must pay particular attention to what types of warnings prove most effective,” he concludes.

Australia in 2012 became the first nation in the world to require cigarettes and cigars to be sold in ‘deterrent’ packages, with no brand and olive color, the color less attractive according to a specific research, and covered by images with strong colours on health damages of smoking.