Smoking :: Counter advertising at the cinema reduces appeal of smoking only to non-smokers

Screening an anti-smoking advertisement before movies which glamorise smoking reduces the appeal of smoking images in movies only to young non-smokers, according to a study in the June issue of Tobacco Control.

The authors said careful consideration needed be given to the type of anti-smoking advertisement screened, because the advertisement used in the study appeared to increase intention to smoke in young women smokers.

While 25.6% of smokers who did not see the advertisement said they were likely to be smoking in 12 months time, 38.6% of smokers who saw it said they were still likely to be smoking.

The study involved more than 3,000 cinema goers aged 12-24 years, who were surveyed after watching the same movie at theatres in three Australian states during a three-week period; 18.6% of them were current smokers.

In the second and third weeks, an advertisement was shown before the film warning viewers not to be ?sucked in? by the depiction of smoking in the following feature because that was what the tobacco giants wanted.

The proportion of non-smokers who thought that the smoking in the movie was not okay rose from 43.8% to 47.8% amongst those who had seen the advertisement. It had no significant effect on the views of smokers.

The authors said: ?Placing an antismoking advertisement before movies that contain smoking scenes can help to immunise young non-smokers against the influences of film stars smoking.

?The finding that a higher proportion of smokers in the intervention group reported they were likely to be smoking in the future suggests that the antismoking advertisement could have in fact increased stated intentions to smoke.

?Caution must be exercised in the type of advertisement screened as some types of advertising may reinforce smokers? intentions to smoke.?

Previous research has shown that as restrictions have tightened on tobacco advertising, there has been an increase in the depiction of smoking in films. Lead characters who smoke tend to be likeable, rebellious, attractive and/or successful, while smoking?s detrimental effects on health tend to be ignored in films.

There is mounting evidence suggesting that adolescents whose favourite actors or actresses smoke on screen are more inclined to take up smoking themselves.

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