01 May 1998

THE SCHOOLS HEALTH Education Unit at Exeter University has published a new report blaming advertising for enticing teenagers into the smoking habit. Based on a massive nationwide sample of 37,538 pupils aged between 11-16, the study reports that 60% of regular smokers in that age group believe ads and sports sponsorship influenced them into taking-up smoking; among occasional smokers, 71% acknowledged the influence of advertising. The findings strengthen the argument that motor racing should not be exempt from the upcoming tobacco advertising ban, especially as the data indicates that young motor racing enthusiasts are more likely to smoke than their peer groups. Says researcher Dave Regis: 'The cigarette industry’s line on advertising is that it merely encourages adult smokers to change brands; the actual effect, in the opinion of young smokers themselves, is different.'