-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- The more tobacco
advertising teenagers see, the more likely they are to start
smoking, according to a new study.
Every 10 tobacco ads that teens view increases their risk of
starting to smoke by nearly 40 percent and boosts their chances of
becoming a daily smoker by 30 percent, the German researchers
The findings, published online in the journal
BMJ Open, support the total ban on tobacco advertising
advocated by the World Health Organization, said Dr. Matthis
Morgenstern, of the Institute for Therapy and Health Research in
Kiel and colleagues.
"Data from this study support this measure, because only exposure to tobacco advertisements predicted smoking initiation, which cannot be attributed to a general receptiveness to marketing," they wrote in a journal news release.
For the study, researchers looked at more than 1,300 nonsmokers,
aged 10 to 15, in Germany. Their exposure to tobacco ads and
subsequent smoking behavior was monitored for 30 months.
At the end of the 30 months, one-third of the youngsters
admitted to trying smoking and 10 percent said they had smoked
within the previous month, according to the study.
Five percent said they had smoked more than 100 cigarettes and
were classified as established smokers, while a similar percentage
said they now smoked every day. One-third of the daily smokers were
14 or younger and one-quarter were 16 or older.
Youngsters who saw the most tobacco ads (11 to 55) during the 30
months were about twice as likely to become established smokers and
daily smokers compared to those who saw the fewest ads.
For each additional 10 tobacco ads they saw, teens were 38
percent more likely to become established smokers and 30 percent
more likely to become daily smokers. After taking into account
other major smoking risk factors, the researchers concluded that
the overall risk of becoming an established smoker was 3 percent to
7 percent greater, and the risk of becoming a daily smoker was 3
percent to 6 percent greater, depending on how many tobacco ads a
teen had seen.
Although the study found an association between tobacco ads and
the likelihood of smoking, it did not establish a cause-and-effect
The American Lung Association explains how to
prevent children and teens from smoking.
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