Using anti-tobacco industry messages to prevent smoking among high-risk adolescents

Health Educ Res. 2006 Jun;21(3):325-37. doi: 10.1093/her/cyl001. Epub 2006 Feb 21.


Media campaigns to prevent adolescent tobacco use in the United States increasingly focus on the deceitful practices of the tobacco industry; however, little is known about how adolescents at elevated smoking risk respond to this strategy. This study used data from a nationally representative survey of 10,035 adolescents, ages 12-17 years, in order to test whether reactions to anti-industry advertisements (ads), the attitudes these ads target, and the relationship between these attitudes and smoking differed by social bonding and sensation-seeking risk factors. Results indicated that anti-industry ad reactions and the strength of anti-industry attitudes were comparable between high- and low-sensation seeking adolescents, whereas weakly bonded adolescents had less favorable ad reactions and weaker anti-industry attitudes than strongly bonded adolescents. Social bonding also moderated the influence of sensation seeking on anti-industry ad reactions, such that sensation seeking had a positive influence among more strongly bonded adolescents and no influence among weakly bonded adolescents. Finally, the relationship between anti-industry attitudes and smoking appeared consistent across risk groups, whether risk was defined using social bonding, sensation seeking or the interaction between them. Overall, these results suggest that anti-industry messages are a promising strategy for preventing smoking among high- and low-risk adolescents alike.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Industry*
  • United States