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Anti-Smoking Ads Shape Teen Attitudes

State-sponsored efforts made difference in whether kids thought tobacco was harmful

TUESDAY, July 5, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- State-sponsored anti-tobacco ads reduced cigarette smoking and increased anti-smoking attitudes among teens who saw the ads, says a study in the July issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers examined survey data from 51,085 teen students in 48 states, along with targeted ratings points (TRPs), which are used to assess the ratings of an ad among U.S. teen audiences. An ad with 80 TRPs per month is estimated to have been seen an average of one time by 80 percent of teens.

Among the teens in the survey, 14 percent had an average of zero exposures to states-sponsored anti-tobacco advertising in the previous four months, 65 percent had an average exposure of greater than zero but less than one, and 21 percent had an average exposure of one or more.

Teen students living in states who saw one or more anti-tobacco ads were much less likely to report having smoked in the previous 30 days (18.6 percent) compared to teens in states with no exposure to anti-tobacco ads (26.7 percent).

Teens exposed to one more of the ads were also more likely to believe that smoking one or more packs of cigarettes a day is very harmful (72.1 percent vs. 65.1 percent). Those teens were also more likely to believe they would definitely not be smoking in five years (64 percent vs. 55.3 percent).

"Our analyses suggest that state-sponsored anti-tobacco media campaigns were associated with more favorable anti-smoking attitudes and beliefs among youth and reduced youth smoking," the study authors wrote.

"The strong associations between anti-smoking attitudes and beliefs, as well as reduced smoking, among students with a state TRP measure of at least one suggest that it is important to maintain a minimal mean exposure level of at least one cumulative state-sponsored anti-tobacco ad per four-month period for the general teen viewing audiences," the authors wrote.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion offers advice to parents about teens and smoking.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, July 5, 2005
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