Either try and hide the smoke or baby bump—especially when you were out in public.” Participants empathised strongly with the images of overt harm and distress shown and could not avoid the conclusion they might be causing their own child to suffer: “pictures selleck catalog of children and young babies and stuff make you think a lot more about it, not doing it.” The affect-arousing images contrasted strongly with the existing health warnings they saw featured on tobacco packages, and that they found easy to counter-argue: “Oh, just the
ones with like the foot with the tag on it…and the picture of any eye and, y-you look at those ones and you’re like “ohh….mine’s never gonna look like that.” Whereas having pictures of young children and you think of your own child and you think, yes, my own child would look like that if I was gone or … that could be my own baby
being like that due to my smoking, so it really—they just make you think a lot more about not doing it.” While lifeless diseased organs were easily dismissed as irrelevant, participants found the poignant images of unwell children difficult to rationalise or ignore. Participants again used metaphors such as ‘choice’, ‘chance’, ‘fairness’ and ‘rights’, and supported messages that questioned whether children exposed to smoke enjoyed these rights: “they—children and babies—have the right to a smoke free world and yet they don’t have that choice at all.” Having argued in favour of their own rights, many saw how their behaviour affected their children: “You know—why make them suffer for a decision when it’s
just something that we want to do? It’s not fair.” This reflection promoted empathy and pathos: “I think it’s sad… that the kid don’t get the choice to—you know—make that choice, …that the Mum’s just taken it away.” Despite asserting their own right to choose whether they smoked or tried to quit, participants found confronting the consequences of their choices disturbing. They responded instinctively to images showing the harms babies of smokers could suffer: “It would make me wanna quit… That’s a-a jolt… You can’t ignore that. You can’t walk away from that.” The rationalisations they had previously constructed crumbled as they saw the reality their children could face: “it’s like well you can’t argue when you’ve got the Cilengitide picture there. My brain can’t justify anything on that. It’s just that simple.” However, messages that asserted children’s rights without showing direct harm did not evoke high levels of emotion and had correspondingly weaker effects: “it’s kind of funny when you think about when they’re inside your womb…because … you can’t actually see them you think that you’re doing something that it’s not really…affecting them, yet it really is.