The effect of health, cosmetic and social antismoking information themes on adolescents' beliefs about smoking

Nina Michaelidou
University of Birmingham

Sally Dibb and Haider Ali
Open University Business School, The Open University

BACKGROUND

Cigarette consumption among adolescents is an alarming issue which is the subject of growing interest among academics and public policymakers. The latest statistics show that 7% of boys and 10% of girls aged 11 to 15 in England are regular smokers, smoking at least one cigarette per week (www.statistics.gov.uk). This rising popularity of smoking among the young is causing social concern, with policymakers seeking to target adolescents with effective prevention programmes.

Academic research into smoking prevention has focused on two areas of enquiry. The first examines the factors impacting upon adolescent smoking rates, while the second explores the efficacy of antismoking campaigns on adolescents' smoking beliefs, attitudes and intentions (Andrews et al. 2004; Netemeyer et al. 2005). A number of factors have been shown to affect adolescents' smoking intentions and behaviour. These include social influences such as family smoking habits and peer influences, (Hu et al. 1995; Albaum et al. 2002; Pechmann & Knight 2002; Gunther et al. 2006), cigarette promotion (Smith & Stutts 1999; Braverman & Aaro 2004), prior smoking behaviour (Stacy et al. 1994) and other family factors (Harakeh et al. 2004).