Young adolescents exposure to tobacco ads and cigarette smoking..

December 25, 2008 - Researchers have found that children and young adolescents remain vulnerable to cigarette advertisements. The research team noted that "initial exposures to cigarette advertising (and the positive portrayals of smoking contained therein) should increase youths' willingness to experiment with cigarette smoking."

Under pressure to curtail marketing to children, tobacco companies have claimed they've refocused their marketing tactics to simply persuade adult smokers to change brands.

Team analyzed the psychological effects of cigarette advertisements and how such commercialization impacts children and young adolescents. The study showed that the youngest kids did not typically focus on brand meanings for any of the ads – tobacco or otherwise. For cigarette ads, this was still true for the vast majority of kids in fifth grade," Merrie Brucks, one of the co-authors said. But when a child was able to pick up on the brand name in a cigarette advertisement, the likelihood of being susceptible to smoking grew by 182 percent.

Based on their findings, the team supports "the policy of preventing children from exposure to any form of cigarette advertising," said Brucks. Citing concerns for children around the globe, the World Health Organization this year called for a ban on the advertisement and promotion of tobacco products.

PAPER: Freeman D, Brucks M, Wallendorf M, Boland W., Youths' understandings of cigarette advertisements, Addict Behav. 2009 Jan;34(1):36-42, ABSTRACT.

Reference: UA Research: Cigarette Ads Still Affect Children by La Monica Everett-Haynes, Arizona University Communications, 121/23/2008.

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