Teenagers are revolting

| December 15, 2017

In the US, graphic anti-tobacco posters intended to deter young people from buying cigarettes might have the opposite effect, according to a HealthDay story citing new research.

The research suggests that the strategy of hanging such posters in convenience stores could backfire, prompting some teenagers to light up.

The HealthDay story described how the tobacco industry focused much of its promotional efforts on convenience stores, and how some states had tried to counter such promotions by requiring that these stores display graphic posters depicting the effects of smoking-related diseases.

For the study, researchers from the Rand Corporation created a replica of a convenience store in which the tobacco wall or display included also a photograph of a diseased mouth and the words “Warning: Cigarettes cause cancer”.

Four-hundred-and-forty-one adolescents 11 to 17 years of age were questioned about their views on smoking before and after they shopped in the fake store. About five percent of the participants had smoked before, and about 20 percent were considered at-risk for future cigarette smoking when the study began because they weren’t entirely against the habit.

The study found that some of the young people were more tempted to smoke after shopping in the store, though this reaction was noted only among those who’d admitted originally that they thought about smoking – not those who’d been sure they would never light up.

“Our findings are counterintuitive and suggest that some anti-smoking strategies may actually go too far,” said the study’s lead author, William Shadel, a senior behavioral scientist at Rand.

Whatever the cause, “our findings do suggest that policymakers should be careful when considering graphic warning posters as part of anti-tobacco education in retail environments,” Shadel said.

The Rand Corporation is a non-profit institution that works to help improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. It focuses on issues such as health, education and the environment.

The HealthDay story is at: https://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/tobacco-and-kids-health-news-662/graphic-anti-smoking-ads-can-backfire-on-kids-729222.html.

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Category: Breaking News, People, Regulation

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