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Impact of smoking images in magazines on the smoking attitudes and intentions of youth: an experimental investigation
  1. Owen B J Carter1,
  2. Robert J Donovan1,2,
  3. Narelle M Weller1,
  4. Geoffrey Jalleh1
  1. 1
    Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, WA, Australia
  2. 2
    Curtin Business School, Perth, WA, Australia
  1. Dr Owen Carter, Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia; o.carter{at}


Objective: To determine the effect of magazine incidental smoking imagery on youths’ smoking intentions.

Methods: A magazine was developed incorporating photographs of smokers (Smoking Magazine). A second version of the magazine (Non-smoking Magazine) included these photographs with the tobacco paraphernalia digitally erased. Equal numbers of smokers and non-smokers aged 14–17 years (n = 357) were randomly assigned to look through one version of the magazine and then asked a series of questions.

Results: Smokers made more unprompted mention of smoking imagery than non-smokers after viewing Smoking Magazine (52% vs 34%; p<0.05). Smokers viewing Smoking Magazine were more likely to report an urge to smoke (54% vs 40%; p<0.05). Female non-smokers who viewed Smoking Magazine were more likely than those who viewed Non-smoking Magazine to state a future intention to smoke (13% vs 0%; p<0.05). Female smokers were more attracted to the male models appearing in Smoking Magazine than Non-smoking Magazine (49% vs 24%; p<0.05) and the opposite was true for female non-smokers (28% vs 52%; p<0.05). Female smokers were also marginally more likely to desire looking like the female models in Smoking Magazine (64% vs 46%; p = 0.06) but no difference was observed in the non-smoking females (46% vs 46%). Male smokers and non-smokers did not differ in their responses by magazine type.

Conclusions: Incidental positive smoking imagery in magazines can generate the same sorts of consumer effects attributed to advertising in general, including tobacco advertising. Sex specific results of our study may be explained by the choice of smoking images used.

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  • Abbreviations:
    Framework Convention on Tobacco Control