Role of the media in influencing trajectories of youth smoking

Authors

  • Melanie Wakefield,

    1. Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Victoria, Australia1, Health Research and Policy Centers, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA,2Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA3 and Department of Cancer Control, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA4
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  • 1 Brian Flay,

    1. Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Victoria, Australia1, Health Research and Policy Centers, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA,2Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA3 and Department of Cancer Control, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA4
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  • 2 Mark Nichter,

    1. Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Victoria, Australia1, Health Research and Policy Centers, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA,2Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA3 and Department of Cancer Control, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA4
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  • and 3 Gary Giovino 4

    1. Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Victoria, Australia1, Health Research and Policy Centers, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA,2Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA3 and Department of Cancer Control, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA4
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Correspondence to:
Melanie Wakefield PhD
Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer
The Cancer Council Victoria
1 Rathdowne Street
Carlton
Victoria
Australia 3053
Tel: +61 3 9635 5046
Fax: +61 3 9635 5380
E-mail: Melanie.Wakefield@cancervic.org.au

ABSTRACT

This paper summarizes results of empirical studies on cigarette advertising and promotions, antismoking advertising, product placement in movies, on television and in music media and news coverage about smoking. In addition, we provide an overview of some of the theoretical literature relevant to the study of media uses and effects. Finally, we discuss empirical findings in the context of these theories to draw some conclusions about media influences on smoking and identify issues for further research. We conclude that (a) the media both shape and reflect social values about smoking; (b) the media provide new information about smoking directly to audiences; (c) the media act as a source of observational learning by providing models which teenagers may seek to emulate; (d) exposure to media messages about smoking also provides direct reinforcement for smoking or not smoking; (e) the media promote interpersonal discussion about smoking; (f) the media can influence ‘intervening’ behaviors that may make teenage smoking less likely; and (g) antismoking media messages can also set the agenda for other change at the community, state or national level. We outline priorities for further research which emphasize the need for longitudinal studies, multi-level studies, an awareness of the probably dynamic relationship between tobacco advertising and antismoking advertising, the importance of determining appraisal of tobacco industry youth smoking prevention efforts and the dearth of research on news coverage about smoking.

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