Visual cues play an important role in the direction of early adolescent cigarette smoking. So much so that anti-smoking activists have fought for legislation to remove tobacco-related visual cues from cigarette packaging, television programs and movies. Ironically, the anti-smoking movement uses visual cues, as well, but recent studies show that such ads may do more harm than good. The following article shows that one study found youth smoking and tobacco expert advice for parents with a number 1 tip to prevent your teen from smoking cigarettes.
Past adolescent smoking prevention focus is to provide young people with clear messages about the health risks associated with smoking. However, explicit messages are not working effectively. A recent study shows that teens tend to light up a cigarette more often when in the presence of another young person or just by seeing other visual images of smoking adolescents.
In the online scientific journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, as well as drug and alcohol addiction researcher Zina Harakeh released its findings on what it believes encourages young smokers to light a cigarette. She found that in the age group 16 to 24 years younger smokers tend to light a cigarette when smoking in the presence of another youth.
According to a press release from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Ms. Harakeh-a sociologist at the University of Utrecht, says that “I call it implicit, passive influence, as it happens without the other person is actively offering a cigarette,” she explains, adding that Young people who associate with peers online and see this man smoking, to smoke more than myself. “Thus, the effect is, even if they do not smell, the smell of cigarettes on the other hand,” she says.
One of its recommendations is that the anti-smoking campaigns are no longer showing images of young people in the visual cues to control smoking. “Just the image of a young smoker may well cause other young man to light a cigarette,” says Ms. Harakeh.
Visual cues are an important part of tobacco industry tactics to promote smoking teenagers. In a recent interview with Professor Robert Proctor, an expert on tobacco industry and the author of a new book about the abuses of the tobacco industry under the name “Golden Holocaust: Origins of the catastrophe of cigarettes and the fight for abolition,” he explains that visual cues are very effective in moving towards smoking, especially in people whose brains have been rewired from previous exposure to nicotine.
“Advertising in cinema is a particular problem with the tobacco industry affect young people take up smoking,” he says, giving, for example, in the movie Superman II, where Superman flies through a billboard image of the Marlboro Man.
Of important is the more recent popular movie “Avatar” where the actress Sigourney Weaver playing the role of scientist Dr. Grace Augustine, exits her avatar pod and says, “Where’s my goddamn cigarette? What’s wrong with this picture!”
Apparently the picture is the problem.
As the above study warns that advertising is used as visual aids to promote anti-smoking does not seem to work with teenagers, but do not tell young people that smoking is bad for them, describing the damage to the health consequences of smoking, or by showing them images of what smoker’s lungs look like.
According to Professor Proctor, the single most effective tip to prevent adolescent smoking initiation is to tell him or her that the tobacco industry lies with them.
“Kids do not like being lied to,” says Professor Proctor. “Of course, you can tell them how bad smoking is for them, but tell them and how they cheated by smoking in the advertising industry and products. What is the racket from the industry to make them take that first smoke and become addicted of cigarettes? “He believes that the message that they lie is one that resonates deeply within teenagers and one is likely to prevent adolescent cigarette smoking.
Last Thoughts on Smoking
If someone you know is a smoker wants to quit smoking, you can keep in mind that visual signals can not only promote smoking, but also increase traction to continue smoking. The site offers informative PsychCentral and intellectual guide on how to quit smoking, that rather interesting, does not encourage the use of popular electronic cigarette (e-cigarette). It also recommends that all materials associated with smoking (think visual cues) are removed from the home, including your car cigarette lighter.