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J Health Commun. 1999 Apr-Jun;4(2):105-18.

The perceived influence of cigarette advertisements and smoking susceptibility among seventh graders.

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  • 1Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California, USA.


A perceptual bias, the third person effect, has been observed where individuals believe themselves to differ from others regarding the perceived influence of media messages. Given the frequency with which youth encounter prosmoking messages and the reported negative effects of these messages, it is of value to study whether youth perceive cigarette advertisements to influence themselves and their friends and peers. This study examined the associations between exposure to social and information prosmoking environments, the perceived influence of cigarette advertisements on self, best friends, and other youth, and smoking susceptibility. A sample of 571 seventh graders completed surveys on tobacco advertisements and promotions. Using Student's-t, chi-square, ANOVA tests and proportional odds models, we found significant associations between perceived influence of cigarette advertisements and exposure to social and information prosmoking environments as well as smoking susceptibility. These data suggest that youth be taught that everyone is vulnerable to the tobacco industry's strategies and be given skills to resist prosmoking advertising.

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