Of the nearly 6 million people globally who die each year from tobacco use, 5 million are from direct tobacco use and more than 600,000 are nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke. While graphic picture warnings on packs of cigarettes has proven to deter people from lighting up, anti-smoking campaigns are considering new technology in an effort to stub out the problem.
Researchers from Scotland’s Stirling University have created cigarette packs that, when opened, play recorded messages urging people to quit. The audio clips warn of potential health risks and include a helpline number for quitting. The recordings specifically cite the link between smoking and low fertility, and reportedly tested well on a group of women aged 16 to 24.
“Tobacco companies may use talking packets in the future as part of marketing,” research team member Crawford Moodie told the BBC. “This research shows how the idea can be used to promote ‘positive health’ to smokers.”
The study is slated to continue as demographic tests will shift to larger groups of males and females, aged 16 and over.
As of now, the talking packs of cigarettes remain a lab prototype. However, if testing continues to yield positive results, the technology could be green-lighted for production, especially since Scottish Publish Health Minister Michael Matheson recently set a goal to reduce the number of smokers in Scotland from 23 percent to 5 percent by 2034.