Smoking Ads: Another Example of Unintended Effects

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It turns out that anti-smoking ads may actually increase smoking.

Tobacco company-sponsored anti-smoking advertising aimed at youths not only has no negative effect on teen smoking, it may actually encourage youngsters to smoke, according to a study co-authored by an Oregon State University researcher.

The researchers are blaming the tobacco companies, but I think the larger problem here is that the government didn't consider unintended consequences and second order effects. Let me beat a dead horse and say – incentives matter. Laws and regulation never change people's attitudes. The lesson for you business is that you can't just institute new procedures and think that fixes everything.