By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We have seen it many times on television or heard it on the radio. Commercials and public service announcements that use fear to essentially scare someone into healthier behavior.

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But is it a good idea to frighten people, and is it effective?

An example of fear are anti-smoking campaigns which have used vivid images depicting damage to the lungs caused by smoking or horrific scenes from drunk driving motor vehicle accidents.

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Here is what we know from prior studies.

Teens react more intensely and emotionally to these commercials than young adults. I think there is a value to showing the damage that can be caused by bad behavior but from years of practice I can also tell you that there needs to be education as well.

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Scaring people is not enough. You have to provide additional help.