Around 6 million people globally are dying of tobacco use each year among which 5 million of them are dying from direct tobacco use and more than 600,000 are non-smokers exposed to second hand smoke. Huge amounts of time, effort and money have been put into various anti-smoking campaigns in order to help smokers beat their smoking addiction. One of the most widely recognizable ones includes the graphic picture warnings on cigarette packs which have proven to deter people from lighting up. Now, anti-smoking campaigns are introducing a new technology in an effort to achieve better and longer lasting effects.
Despite being in a testing phase, talking cigarettes are a reality and they aim to remind smokers of risk. Researchers from Scotland's Stirling University have created cigarette packs which, when opened, play recorded messages urging people to quit. These remind people of potential health risks and include a helpline number for quitting. The recordings specifically site the links between low fertility and smoking and they were successfully tested in women aged 16 to 24. The study is set to continue including more people, both males and females aged 16 and over.
Even though such initiatives are warmly welcomed, reluctance still exists as, according to Ash Scotland anti-smoking charity, the latest research based on young women smokers, did not showed very encouraging results regarding the association between packaging and smoking habits. On the other hand, Cancer research UK, who is funding the Stirling study, sees the future from a more positive point of view and believes that marketing tools coming from the tobacco industry can help smokers quit.
If results from the talking cigarettes project continue to be encouraging, the specific technology will get the green light for production. A few things are quite unclear however like the sample size used so far as well as the potential consumer cost.
Future definitely looks promising however.
Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine