Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tobacco Marketing and Its Effect on Children: More Than Just a National Concern!

We are certainly aware of the effects of tobacco advertising on children and teenagers in this country based on studies we and other journals have published on this topic. Yet, the United States is not the only country where this issue continues to be a problem. Internationally, tobacco marketing can affect young children and their attitudes and behaviors regarding smoking and as shown this week by Borzekowski and Cohen (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1150) in a study examining tobacco marketing to 5 and 6 year olds in six low- and middle-income countries. The children in the study were asked to match logos to products that included logos for cigarette brands in their countries. Suffice it to say, the greater the media exposure for a child, the more likely a young child could identify at least one cigarette brand logo. The authors share much more information about other factors that further enhance this recognition and call for better measures to restrict tobacco marketing internationally.

If your local school district is not working on curriculum to alert students to the influence of what current marketing can do to influence behavior (even years later), then this study should light up your desire to advocate for such a curriculum and other preventive measures to curtail as much tobacco marketing to minors as possible.