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Out of the smokescreen II: will an advertisement targeting the tobacco industry affect young people’s perception of smoking in movies and their intention to smoke?
  1. Christine Edwards1,
  2. Wendy Oakes2,
  3. Diane Bull3
  1. 1Central Coast Health Promotion Unit, Northern Sydney Central Coast Health, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2The Cancer Council, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 C A Edwards
 Central Coast Health Promotion Unit, Northern Sydney Central Coast Health, PO Box 361, Gosford, NSW 2250, Australia; cedwards{at}nsccahs.health.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the effect of an antismoking advertisement on young people’s perceptions of smoking in movies and their intention to smoke.

Subjects/setting: 3091 cinema patrons aged 12–24 years in three Australian states; 18.6% of the sample (n = 575) were current smokers.

Design/intervention: Quasi-experimental study of patrons, surveyed after having viewed a movie. The control group was surveyed in week 1, and the intervention group in weeks 2 and 3. Before seeing the movie in weeks 2 and 3, a 30 s antismoking advertisement was shown, shot in the style of a movie trailer that warned patrons not to be sucked in by the smoking in the movie they were about to see.

Outcomes: Attitude of current smokers and non-smokers to smoking in the movies; intention of current smokers and non-smokers to smoke in 12 months.

Results: Among non-smokers, 47.8% of the intervention subjects thought that the smoking in the viewed movie was not OK compared with 43.8% of the control subjects (p = 0.04). However, there was no significant difference among smokers in the intervention (16.5%) and control (14.5%) groups (p = 0.4). A higher percentage of smokers in the intervention group indicated that they were likely to be smoking in 12 months time (38.6%) than smokers in the control group (25.6%; p<0.001). For non-smokers, there was no significant difference in smoking intentions between groups, with 1.2% of intervention subjects and 1.6% of controls saying that they would probably be smoking in 12 months time (p = 0.54).

Conclusions: This real-world study suggests that placing an antismoking advertisement before movies containing smoking scenes can help to immunise non-smokers against the influences of film stars’ smoking. Caution must be exercised in the type of advertisement screened as some types of advertising may reinforce smokers’ intentions to smoke.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None declared.

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