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Int Q Community Health Educ. 2008-2009;29(4):309-21. doi: 10.2190/IQ.29.4.b.

Does the source matter in the communication of anti-smoking messages to youth?

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  • 1Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.


This study examined ethnicity as a moderator of exposure to sources of anti-smoking communication and behavioral intentions among adolescents who have never tried smoking (i.e., never smokers) and those who previously experimented with smoking but are not yet regular smokers (i.e., experimental smokers). Responses from 1700 African American, Latino, and White youth who completed the Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey from September 2007 through April 2008 were analyzed. Ethnicity and smoking status moderated the association between exposure to sources of anti-tobacco communication and adolescents' intentions to smoke. For never smokers, media exposure was related to lower behavioral intentions among African Americans. For experimental smokers, exposure to both media and to health professionals was associated with lower intentions among African Americans. Exposure to parental anti-smoking communication was associated with reduced intentions among White adolescents. These findings suggest that prevention for smoking initiation among ethnically diverse youth might be enhanced with greater attention to the source of anti-smoking messages and prior smoking experience.

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