Mistrusting companies, mistrusting the tobacco industry: clarifying the context of tobacco prevention efforts that focus on the tobacco industry

J Health Soc Behav. 2006 Dec;47(4):406-22. doi: 10.1177/002214650604700407.


Campaigns to prevent adolescent smoking increasingly depict the tobacco industry as deceitful and exploitative. This study was undertaken to determine how adolescents' expectations about the trustworthiness of companies, in general, influence the pathway through which anti-tobacco industry campaigns prevent smoking. Structural equation modeling was used with survey data from 6,670 adolescents, ages 12 to 17. In the first model, statistically significant coefficients were associated with paths from mistrust of companies to mistrust of the tobacco industry, from mistrust of the tobacco industry to anti-tobacco industry attitudes, and from anti-tobacco industry attitudes to smoking. In models stratified by mistrust of companies, paths from mistrust of the tobacco industry to anti-tobacco industry attitudes and from anti-tobacco industry attitudes to smoking appeared comparable among youth with both high and low mistrust of companies. These results suggest that anti-tobacco industry campaigns resonate with youth because of youths' trust-related values and expectations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Social Marketing*
  • Tobacco Industry / ethics*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology
  • Trust*
  • United States