Adolescents who are exposed to anti-smoking messages on television may be half as likely to start smoking than those who are not exposed, according to a study in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health, which is also publishing a second study reporting that teenagers exposed to pro-tobacco advertising are more than twice as likely to become smokers as those who do not see such ads.
The studies were financed by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and written by Lois Biener and Michael Siegel. In the first, researchers interviewed Massachusetts children as that state's anti-smoking campaign began in 1993 and then four years later. According to the study, the adolescents exposed to anti-smoking ads who were able to recall at least one message were about half as likely to have become smokers as those who had not.
In the second study, which also began in 1993, 46 percent of teenagers who owned an item bearing a tobacco brand logo and could name a tobacco brand started smoking. Of those who did not own such products and were unable to name a tobacco brand, the study reported, only 14 percent started smoking.
, The New York Times, March 16, 2000
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