Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Studies In Teen Smoking

Some studies have made significant headway in the research on teen smoking.

Teen smoking has been a long-standing issue in the overall subject of smoking abuse. Researchers have worked towards finding causes, understanding behavioral patterns and creating potential solutions for teen addiction. In particular, some notable studies have offered contrasting results to existing knowledge and valuable insight towards making more efficient solutions and gaining more ground against addiction.


Dr. Joseph R. DiFranza, a family health and community specialist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, conducted a study on teen tobacco dependence which was covered in the New York Times in 2008. It was initially believed that teens needed to smoke frequently - 5 to 10 cigarettes per day - to become addicted. However, his study of an average14-year-old girl states that teens may actually be more susceptible to addiction; the girl only smoked 3 cigarettes per week but experienced the same nicotine withdrawal symptoms as any frequent smoker.


A study by Lisa Henriksen, a senior research scientist at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, states that there is an alarming level of effectiveness associated with point-of-sale advertising and teen smoking. Point-of-sale advertising includes the use of in-store banners, posters and inventory displays. According to the research, teens who visit these stores on a regular basis are twice as likely to start smoking as those who do not visit frequently. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned companies from using underscoring keywords such as "light", "low" and "mild" in cigarette advertisements and packaging.

Supply and Demand

Peter D. Jacobson, author of the research book "Combating Teen Smoking," states a study about the relationship between cigarette price increases and teen smoking. By the economic theory of supply and demand, as prices go up, the demand for any product tends to go down. By this theory, increasing the prices should decrease the cases of teen smoking; however, Jacobson offers contrasting proof against this argument. There is an ongoing study about a rational addiction model for smoking addiction. Rational addiction states that an individual's prior cigarette use prompts future consumption because it is rational for a nicotine addict to continue smoking. This effectively makes price increases less or inconsequential in encouraging people to stop smoking.

Substance Abuse Prevention: Social Marketing

Jacobson argues that although public service announcements on teen smoking are commonly found in media, the true effects of these ads are questionable and rare. Jacobson says that social marketing and advertising may have more of an effect. Compared with mass media campaigns, social media advertising efficiently target their audience by dividing it into clear segments and using different advertisements for each one. For example, ads on the major consequences of addiction will be shown to an audience segment of teens who are already showing signs of smoking. On the other hand, ads about getting help and support from public entities will be shown to teens who are already addicted. Social marketing campaigns are also highly testable; advertisements can be edited and conducted easily to optimize for the most positive outcomes.

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