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Forget cancer: Fear of wrinkles and impotence are what really stop people smoking

A report in the news this week shows that women are concerned about wrinkles and men are worried about losing their sex drive when deciding whether or not to quit smoking.

For the study, Professor Williams and colleagues at St Andrews University analysed over 19,000 responses from a UK-wide online survey into reactions to health warnings on tobacco packaging. Three images stood out as the most powerful for their shock message. The neck tumour was found to be the most powerful with 80% of respondents saying it affected them, diseased teeth came in second with 77% saying it was upsetting and diseased lungs came third with 72% saying it the greatest impact. But the report also found that ‘many images appeared to be differentially effective across age and gender. The study said: ‘Female smokers were also significantly more affected than men by all three images connected to aging of the skin. ‘Men were consistently more affected by the images relating to sexual performance/impotence. ‘Images relating to heart and lung disease as a consequence of smoking were most effective amongst over 50s.

Whatever your reason for quitting there is help available.

In Warwickshire there is a free Stop Smoking Service for people wishing to quit. For help and advice on stopping smoking call 0800 0852917, text LIFE to 80800 or visit

Quit Smoking - NHS Smokefree Quit Kit

About Paul Hooper, WCC (575 Articles)
Group Manager: Community Safety and Substance Misuse
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