Anti-Smoking Ads May Influence Teen Habits: Study
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Young people who are exposed to multiple anti-tobacco advertisements on television and who can describe these ads accurately are less likely to take up smoking than their peers, study findings show.
What's more, their likelihood of remaining nonsmokers appears to increase with the number of television ads they view and are able to correctly describe.
The findings are based on telephone responses from 12- to 20-year-olds involved in a follow-up survey 22 months after the April 1998 start of the Florida "truth" anti-tobacco media campaign.
This campaign, targeted at 12- to 17-year-olds, included 11 television ads that aimed to prevent youth from starting smoking by informing them about strategies used by the tobacco industry to popularize smoking.
Overall, youth who were initially identified as nonsmokers were more likely to remain so at follow-up if they remembered the anti-tobacco ads and were able to give accurate descriptions of them, the investigators report in the November issue of Preventive Medicine.
For example, those who were able to describe, in detail, at least one of the 11 ads were 27% more likely to remain nonsmokers at follow-up. The almost 40% of youth who were able to accurately describe four or more ads were 68% more likely to remain nonsmokers, the report indicates.
The youth were also less likely to take up smoking if they said that the campaign's message--that tobacco companies specifically target and try to manipulate youth--greatly influenced their decision not to start smoking.
In contrast, young people who were unable to accurately describe any of the television ads were more likely to say that the campaign theme did not influence their smoking in any way.