Picture warnings on cigarette packets depicting the dangers of smoking make little impact on teenage smokers, a study suggests.

The UK introduced the images, which depict things such as diseased lungs and heart surgery, in 2008.

But the Stirling University study, which involved 2,800 children, found the images have had almost no effect on deterring 11 to 16-year-old smokers.

Smoking used to be seen as cool, and lots of young people (who became older people) smoked. Now it’s seen as kind of sad, and far fewer young people smoke. So do a lot fewer older people. In certain subcultures smoking is still seen as cool, and more of those people smoke. It’s pretty much that simple. Cultural change works, hectoring and nannying don’t.

As for gruesome images, kids do think those are cool. I filled my teen years watching classic movies like I Dismember Mama and The Incredible Melting Man precisely because they were gruesome.