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Keywords:

  • Adolescent smoking behaviour;
  • advertising;
  • fear appeals;
  • gender effects;
  • media effects

Abstract

A field study exposed 235 high school students to anti-smoking advertisements over a five-month period to test the effectiveness of short-term cosmetic versus long-term health fear appeals in preventing or reducing smoking. The study was a longitudinal experiment with two experimental groups and a control group. Smoking behaviour was measured prior to message exposure on television, in magazines and on the internet, and at the end of the study period. The primary results were that average smoking declined for subjects exposed to either type of anti-smoking fear appeal but not for the control group and short-term cosmetic fear appeals were more effective for males but long-term health fear appeals were more effective for females. Copyright © 2003 Henry Stewart Publications.