Anti-tobacco messages from different sources make a difference with secondary school students

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2004 Nov-Dec;10(6):518-23. doi: 10.1097/00124784-200411000-00008.


Mass media campaigns are often effective in reducing tobacco use, but research has typically focused on these campaigns without considering other sources of anti-tobacco information. The present study examined whether the number of sources of anti-tobacco information (family, sports, and other community events, advertisements, and the Internet), made a difference in use and attitudes of high school students. A representative sample of 1,151 students in grades 6 to 12 in one southeastern state were interviewed at school on cell phones provided by researchers. They reported on average 2.49 of the 4 sources of anti-tobacco information. Students who heard anti-tobacco messages from a variety of sources of information were less likely to use tobacco than students who heard anti-tobacco messages from few sources. Never-users, nonsmokers, and relatively younger youth reported more sources than ever-users, smokers, and relatively older youth. Surprisingly, those who reported more sources labeled smokers as attractive more than those who reported fewer sources. Although having a variety of sources of anti-tobacco messages is associated with less tobacco use, an implication of present results is that anti-tobacco information needs to convey the point that using tobacco is ugly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising / methods*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media
  • Risk Assessment
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco*