A few years ago, federal health officials proposed replacing the familiar warning labels on cigarette packs with vivid photos showing tobacco damage, such as rotted teeth and diseased lungs.
Tobacco companies cried foul with a 2012 lawsuit, and a federal court agreed the graphic labels did "not convey any warning information at all" and were "unabashed attempts to evoke emotion (and perhaps embarrassment) and browbeat consumers into quitting."
But new research from the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University shows those emotional images do indeed turn more people away from smoking.
The study analyzed data from 244 adults who smoked between five and 40 cigarettes per day. Smokers received their brand of cigarettes to smoke for a month with either the photo labels proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the front and back of the packs, or text mandated by the government in the Family Tobacco Act of 2009 on the side of the pack where current warnings appear.