Comparative study of young people's response to anti-smoking messages

Elinor Devlin
Formerly Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling and the Open University

Douglas Eadie
Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling and the Open University

Martine Stead
Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling and the Open University

Kirsty Evans
Research Consultant

INTRODUCTION

Smoking prevalence increases rapidly with age, with the majority of people taking it up during their teenage years (Walker et al. 2001). Research conducted into young teenagers and smoking in 1998 indicated that less than 1% of 11-year-olds were regular smokers compared with over one-fifth (21%) of 15-year-olds (Higgins 1998). This evidence indicates that if young people do not begin smoking before the age of 20 they are unlikely ever to start. Targeting young people before smoking initiation in their early teens may therefore be critical to reducing smoking rates.