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On-line teen smoking cessation: what's porn got to do with it?
  1. SEAN P ELLIOTT,
  2. CHRISTINE C EDWARDS,
  3. SUSAN I WOODRUFF,
  4. TERRY L CONWAY
  1. Graduate School of Public Health
  2. San Diego State University
  3. 9245 Sky Park Ct, Suite 120
  4. San Diego, CA 92123
  5. USA
  6. swoodruf{at}mail.sdsu.edu

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    Editor—As part of our research on adolescent smoking, we conducted a search of the internet for on-line support for teen smoking cessation. We searched google.com using the wordsteen quit smoking (without quotation marks) which resulted in hundreds of potential links. In order to narrow the search to more specific tobacco-related sites, we used an advanced exact-phrase search of the key words “teen quit smoking” (with quotation marks) on the same search engine. To our amazement, seven out of the top 20 sites (35%) were teen pornography sites. The phrase “teen quit smoking” was deliberately placed among the descriptors for each of these seven pornography links. On further review of several of these sites, we found no smoking cessation material or links to actual cessation sites. Although we are unsure why this phrase would be placed among the descriptors for pornography sites, it raises concern about a teenager's ability to find legitimate on-line cessation support. This unexpected placement of “teen quit smoking” potentially encourages teenagers to access on-line pornography, an activity that certainly would be discouraged by many proponents of teen smoking cessation. Fortunately, the same search strategies did not yield the same results with other popular internet search engines. Health educators need to be aware of this potential problem, as more and more teenagers are encouraged to access the internet for smoking cessation support and other health related information.

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