Evidence Soup
How to find, use, and explain evidence.

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Friday, 19 December 2008

Some claim that Buyology missed significant evidence about cigarette warnings.

I wrote last week about the book Buyology, and its author's claims that cigarette warning labels actually make people want to smoke. But some remain unconvinced: Folks are pointing out weaknesses in Martin Lindstrom's conclusions, which were based on a functional MRI study. In response to Lindstrom's Dec 11 New York Times Op/Ed piece, Inhaling Fear, in which he discussed his research, some insightful letters to the editor (Dec 18) included these observations:

  • Lindstrom didn't acknowledge evidence from studies showing that graphic warnings contribute to smoker's knowledge of health risks.
  • The study didn't include an equal number of non-smokers. Doing so would allow researchers to determine if the cigarette warnings triggered the "disapproval" areas of the brain -- which could indicate whether the warnings help prevent non-smoking people from picking up the habit.

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