CAMPAIGNS that try to shame smokers and drinkers into giving up or cutting down can actually end up undermining efforts to improve public health, according to researchers.

Dr Laura Williamson, of Glasgow Caledonian University, argued that adverts showing young people covered in vomit can end up alienating members of the community, particularly those from low-income backgrounds.

In an editorial published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, she said: "Stigmatising and dehumanising entrenches or exacerbates inequalities, rather than helping to alleviate them. The use of stigma to control substance use urgently requires critical public debate."