Monday, June 14, 2010

One way to get people to stop smoking

Education largely fails to get people to not smoke - studies have demonstrated that on the margin, only higher cigarette prices are effective - but I'd bet you that a very specifically targeted education could be more effective. If kids start smoking regardless of health effects because they perceive the risks as "distant" but the perceived rewards as "immediate", perhaps hammering home advertising to this end would be helpful:
There is very little that is more immediate in your average teenage male's mind that is more "immediate" than trying to pick up girls, so a public health campaign centered around it may use psychological jiu jitsu better than your typical "smoking causes lung cancer - look what you could look like at 60!" campaign.

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