Internet - kids being exposed to messages on tobacco use..

July 22, 2009 - The study published online July 20, 2009 in the journal Pediatrics, found that the Internet is the newest place for kids to get exposure to positive messages on tobacco use. Although tobacco content was found on less than 1 percent of the pages that teens view, there were more pro-tobacco pages than anti-tobacco pages.

To assess what type of exposure teens are getting to tobacco messages from the Internet, the researchers randomly selected 346 teenagers with home Internet access. The teens allowed the study authors to track all of their page views for a 30-day period. The researchers then searched those pages for tobacco-related content. study volunteers viewed 1.2 million Web pages. Of those, 8,702 (0.72 percent) contained tobacco or smoking content.

Pro-tobacco messages were found on 1,916 pages and anti-tobacco content was included on 1,572 pages. The authors said the tobacco messages were "complex or unclear" on 5,055 pages. More than half of the tobacco-related page views -- 53 percent -- came from social networking sites (at the time of the study, MySpace was the predominant social networking site). Often, mentions of smoking or tobacco use were part of user profiles.

Forty-three percent of teens were exposed to pro-tobacco imagery, according to the study. Tobacco products were specifically sold on 50 of the pages, and 242 pages contained links to tobacco products sold on other sites.

PAPER: Exposure to Tobacco on the Internet: Content Analysis of Adolescents' Internet Use; Brian P. Jenssen, BA, Jonathan D. Klein, MD, MPH, Laura F. Salazar, PhD, Nichole A. Daluga, MPH and Ralph J. DiClemente, PhD, Published online July 20, 2009 PEDIATRICS (doi:10.1542/peds.2008-3838); ABSTRACT.., Complete Article..
(youth, children, adolescents, young)
Reference: Internet May Be Newest Venue for Teen Tobacco Exposure Social networking sites latest place to view smoking-related content, study shows by Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter, 7/22/2009.