CORVALLIS, Ore. – Tobacco company-sponsored anti-smoking advertising aimed at youths not only has no negative effect on teen smoking, it may actually encourage youngsters to smoke, according to a study co-authored by an Oregon State University researcher.
Results from the study also show that tobacco industry-sponsored prevention ads aimed at parents often have harmful effects on students, also increasing their likelihood of smoking.
“We suspected this the minute we saw the kind of ads the tobacco companies were creating,” said Brian Flay, a professor in the Department of Public Health at Oregon State University. “Their objective is to get customers, not to stop customers from finding them.”
The study appears in the December issue of American Journal of Public Health.
Flay was one of nine researchers from Bridging the Gap, a policy research program based at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Michigan, who worked on this study, which is the first to examine how youth are affected by parent-targeted ads sponsored by the tobacco industry.
More than 100,000 students from all areas of the country in 8th, 10th and 12th grades were surveyed to assess the relationship between exposure to tobacco company prevention advertising and youth smoking-related beliefs, intentions and behaviors. Researchers linked these data with Nielsen Media Research data on the exposure of youth to smoking-related ads that appeared on network and cable stations in the 75 largest United States media markets from 1999 to 2002.
Some of the findings include:
In analyzing the data, researchers adjusted their analysis for factors other than tobacco company prevention ads that might have had an effect on levels of youth smoking. Those additional factors include smoking laws, cigarette prices and other televised advertising about not smoking.
The National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the study.
Flay, who has conducted school-based and health research for more than 30 years, said parents who find the amount of advertising targeting their children overwhelming can take preventative steps.
“Parents should have a clear message about smoking and always reinforce that message against smoking from an early age,” he said.
“Even parents who are smokers can make it clear and communicate to their child that they wished they hadn’t started smoking, because the majority of smokers do feel that way.”
About the OSU College of Health and Human Sciences: Emphasizing a holistic approach to optimal health and disease prevention, researchers focus on nutrition, physical activity, the psychology of aging improving the health of children and older adults, public policy, access to health care, and maximizing environmentally friendly materials and structures.
Danger of Smoking
in Cars Warrants Ban, Researchers Say
October 31, 2006
Children riding in cars with adults who smoke are at serious risk of respiratory problems, according to New Zealand researchers who called for legislation banning smoking in cars.
The Associated Press reported Oct. 26 that researchers from the Wellington School of Medicine compared riding in a car with a smoker to sitting in a smoke-filled bar. Smoke exposure was significant even when the car windows were rolled down, but air quality was twice as bad as in a smoky bar when the windows were rolled up, the study said.
Whereas particular levels on a smoggy city day might be 35-40 micrograms per cubic yards, the particulate level in a car with windows rolled down was 199 micrograms per cubic yards. With the windows rolled up, the particulate level was 2,926 micrograms per cubic yard.
Antismoking advocates said they hoped that if parents learn that even rolling down the car windows won't protect their kids, they might stop smoking in their cars.
Mistreated children more
likely to smoke, drink, fight
and suffer from depression as adolescents
September 5, 2006
CHAPEL HILL – Children who are left home alone, physically neglected, physically assaulted or sexually abused are more likely to smoke cigarettes or marijuana, drink alcohol, abuse inhalants and be depressed or violent when they reach adolescence, according to a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health.
The study found that the most common form of maltreatment was leaving a child home alone, with two out of five respondents (41.5 percent) reporting that their parents or other adult caregivers left them home alone at least once when an adult should have been with them. The researchers hope the finding raises more concern about the link between neglectful parenting and future health.
“Although child neglect is the most common type of maltreatment, it receives much less attention than physical or sexual abuse,” said Dr. Jon Hussey, research assistant professor of maternal and child health at the UNC School of Public Health and a fellow at the Carolina Population Center. “However, the associations between child neglect and adolescent health risks were largely comparable to those found for child abuse.”
The study, published in the September 2006 issue of the journal Pediatrics, examines the association between maltreatment of children and their state of health when they reach adolescence. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers found that supervision neglect, physical assault, physical neglect and contact sexual abuse before the sixth grade were all associated with a number of major adolescent health risks. Each type of maltreatment was associated with eight or more of 10 adolescent health risks, including drug, cigarette and alcohol use; violence; and depression.
More than one in four children (28.4 percent) reported physical assault, defined as being slapped, hit or kicked by a parent or other adult caregiver. The third most prevalent type of maltreatment was physical neglect, where a parent or caregiver did not meet a child’s basic needs, such as keeping him/her clean, fed and adequately clothed. Finally, by the time they entered sixth grade, about one in 25 (4.5 percent) said they had been victims of contact sexual abuse committed by a parent or other adult caregiver.
“Because many behaviors that influence adult health are initiated and established in adolescence, understanding how childhood experiences influence these behaviors will help prevention and treatment efforts,” Hussey said. “Children and adolescents stand a better chance of growing up to become healthy adults if we can intervene early and effectively.”
Co-authors include Dr. Jonathan B. Kotch, a UNC professor of maternal and child health, and Dr. Jen Jen Chang, assistant professor of community health in epidemiology at the Saint Louis University School of Public Health.
Note: Jon Hussey can be reached at (919) 966-1731, firstname.lastname@example.org