February 4, 2010 - NY City health officials are requiring stores that sell tobacco products to display graphic anti-smoking signs by March 1, but some experts and other New Yorkers question the effectiveness of the ad campaigns.
Starting March 1, any city shops that sell cigarettes and other tobacco products that do not display these arresting anti-smoking signs risk fines of up to $2,000.
The Department of Health (DOH) has also released a series of anti-smoking television ads, but not everyone is certain the ad blitzes work.
Martin Lindstrom, a marketing expert and author of the book "Buyology," conducted his own research and scanned smokers' brains to see how they responded to anti-smoking warnings. "What we learned was shocking. We learned that it has the opposite effect," said Lindstrom. "In fact, when people see those health warnings, they are turned on and they want to smoke even more."
DOH officials say there is much research to back up their approach. Cigarette packs already carry health warnings, but Anne Pearson, a DOH official, said those messages reach customers too late. "You only get that warning after you've bought the pack. We thought it was really important to have that health message come the moment when you're thinking about buying it," said Pearson.
Whether they love or hate the ads, New Yorkers can expect to see even more of them in the coming weeks, as business owners do their best to avoid the city's fines.
Reference: New Yorkers Divided Over Graphic Anti-Smoking Ads In Stores by Grace Rauh, NY1.com, 1/30/2010.
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