Smell associated with being a smoker may have more impact than talking about related-diseases..

May 18, 2009 - A new Australian study (presented on Saturday, May 16th at the Heart Foundation Conference)suggests the stink that envelops a smoker could be used as a potent motivator to quit, even more powerful than gruesome images of tobacco-related disease.

University of Sydney Department of Psychology PhD candidate Emily Kothe brought together 28 current and former smokers to test the effectiveness of the latest anti-smoking advertisements. While the television ads were shown to reduce cravings and inspire a sense of "disgust" and "worry" in current smokers, worryingly they also reported feeling the images did not relate to them. "Many smokers did not feel the advertisements were enough to make them quit," Ms Kothe said.

Ms Kothe said future ad campaigns should highlight consequences of the habit that smokers could immediately relate to. While the latest advertising campaign had proven effective in discouraging people from taking up smoking, the message was often lost on young smokers (aged 18 to 26) taking part in the trials.

Heart Foundation national chief executive Dr Lyn Roberts said the research added weight to calls for a rise in the tobacco tax. Dr. Roberts: "Smoking is the leading single preventable cause of ill-health and death in Australia, claiming more than 15,500 lives per year."

Reference: Bad smell 'may motivate smokers to quit, Australian Associated Press, 5/16/2009.