A new study published in the Archives of Paediatric & Adolescent Medicine, shows that youth who view anti-smoking television advertisements sponsored by states are less likely to smoke.
Released in the US today, the study found strong associations between state-sponsored anti-smoking campaigns and the amount of youth smoking. In the US, ""state-sponsored"" campaigns refer to advertising that is funded by the Governments of individual states.
Co-authored by the Director of The Cancer Council Victoria's Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Professor Melanie Wakefield, the study highlights the important role of mass media campaigns in reducing youth smoking.
“The findings indicate that kids reached by state-sponsored anti-smoking TV advertisements are less likely to smoke and are more likely to perceive a risk of addiction and harm from smoking,” says Professor Wakefield.
Professor Wakefield said although the study concentrated on youth smoking in US, it was particularly relevant to Australians given the Commonwealth Government’s $25 million budget commitment to fund a new national campaign to reduce smoking rates in young people.
“Every week in Victoria, it’s estimated that around 62,000 young Victorians aged between 12-17 years old smoke around 1.5million cigarettes, any insight into how this figure can be reduced through mass media campaigns is very much welcome.”
Quit Victoria’s Executive Director, Mr Todd Harper, said like their US counterparts, young people in Victoria respond well to the quit smoking advertising message, including campaigns targeted at adult smokers.
“By developing a mass media campaign that encourages more adults, particularly parents, to quit we can continue to see lower rates of smoking among children,” said Mr Harper.
“Communicating a quit smoking message to adults gives a three for one effect. You are encouraging adults to quit, which has a flow-on benefit to adolescents, and on top of that children of non-smokers are less likely to take up smoking,” said Mr Harper
Victorian youth smoking: Facts at a glance
The data below is from a 2002 survey of over 4000 students aged 12-17 in almost 70 government, catholic, and independent schools across the state. The survey was undertaken by researchers from the Cancer Council’s Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer.
Smoking amongst students aged 12-15 years
Â· In 2002, 43% of boys and girls in this age group had ever tried smoking.
Â· In 2002, 12% of boys in this age group were current smokers.
Â· In 2002, 13% of girls aged 12-15 were current smokers.
Smoking amongst students aged 16-17 years
Â· In 2002, more than two thirds (70%) of all students aged 16 and 17 had ever tried smoking.
Â· In 2002, 26% of boys in this age group were current smokers.
Â· In 2002, 30% of girls aged 16-17 were current smokers.
Study co-author Professor Melanie Wakefield is available for interview – please contact Edwina Vellar on the numbers below to arrange an interview.
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811