New Study In The American Journal Of Public Health Shows Philip Morris's Anti-Smoking Ads Make Kids More Likely To Smoke
Washington, D.C. (May 29, 2002) â€“ Presenting groundbreaking research that Philip Morrisâ€™s youth anti-smoking ads make it more likely that kids will smoke in the future, the American Legacy FoundationÃ¢ (Legacy) today urged Philip Morris to pull its ad
The call came at a joint press conference with the American Public Health Association (APHA) where both groups released research showing that Legacyâ€™s truthsm campaign is working, and the Philip Morris campaign is not.
â€œThe results are in and the evidence is clear,â€ said Cheryl Healton, Dr.P.H., Legacyâ€™s President and CEO. â€œPhilip Morrisâ€™s â€˜Think. Donâ€™t Smokeâ€™ effort parades as a youth anti-smoking campaign, but itâ€™s really a wolf in sheepâ€™s clothing. Philip Morris should pull its â€˜Think. Donâ€™t Smokeâ€™ ads off the air.â€
The research, featured in APHAâ€™s June issue of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), showed that exposure to Philip Morrisâ€™s â€œThink. Donâ€™t Smokeâ€ ads produced a statistically significant decrease in several anti-tobacco attitudes among 12- to 17-year-olds, increasing the youthsâ€™ future likelihood of smoking. Viewing the ads made youth less likely to believe that cigarette companies deny that cigarettes cause harmful diseases and less likely to say that they want cigarette companies to go out of business in the future. The research found that nonsmoking 12- to 17-year-olds exposed to Philip Morrisâ€™s ads were also more likely to say that they intend to smoke in the future. The Philip Morris ads had the least appeal to kids who needed to hear anti-smoking messages the most â€“ kids who are open to smoking.
The study also showed that, after only 10 months, exposure to the truthsm campaign strengthened young peopleâ€™s anti-tobacco attitudes, reducing their future likelihood of smoking. The proportion of youth who agreed that â€œtaking a stand against tobacco is important to meâ€ increased from 72 to 83 percent, while the percent who agreed that they want to be involved in efforts to get rid of smoking went from 65 to 82 percent.
â€œWe dedicated the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health to highlighting research on the most effective strategies to prevent and reduce tobacco use because tobacco-related diseases are the number one preventable cause of death in this country,â€ said Mohammad Akhter, M.D., M.P.H., executive director of APHA. â€œThe Philip Morris campaign is only intensifying the tobacco epidemic the country finds itself in today, and we will continue to work with Legacy and others to address this important public health issue.â€
In addition to the AJPH study, Legacy today released a report entitled â€œFirst Look Report 9: Getting to the Truth: Assessing Youthsâ€™ Reaction to the truthsm and â€˜Think. Donâ€™t Smokeâ€™ Tobacco Countermarketing Campaigns.â€ The research for both documents, conducted under contract with Research Triangle Institute, is based on data from two Legacy Media Tracking Surveys (LMTS). The first LMTS was conducted by phone with 6,897 youth ages 12-24 from December 1999 through February 2000 prior to the launch of the truthsm campaign, and the second LMTS was conducted with 10,692 young people ages 12-24 ten months following the truthsm launch. Philip Morris's "Think. Don't Smoke" ad campaign began in 1998 and had been running for more than 12 months at the time the truthsm campaign was launched.
Evidence from Florida and other states has shown that hard-hitting, fact-based ads exposing the truth about the health effects of tobacco products and industry practices are effective in changing youth attitudes and reducing youth smoking. The Legacy truthsm campaign is similar to the Florida campaign that helped contribute to dramatic reductions in youth smoking in just two years. Legacyâ€™s truthsm campaign has been cited for its contribution to recent drops in youth smoking rates by the University of Michiganâ€™s â€œMonitoring the Futureâ€ survey, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionâ€™s â€œMorbidity and Mortality Reportâ€ of May 16, 2002.
The First Look Report 9, AJPH study and the primary research data are available on Legacyâ€™s website at www.americanlegacy.org