Exposure to a single pro-smoking media message can raise young adult’s smoking intentions for a week, according to research from the RAND Corporation, a non-profit research organization.
The study examined the effects of pro-smoking messages on 134 college students, some smokers, others non-smokers or occasional smokers, between the ages of 18 and 24, the age group with the highest rate of smoking. After exposure to a pro-smoking message, researchers found an immediate 22 percent increase of smoking intentions. The increase fell over the following days, but remained elevated for 7 days after the original exposure.
"Our findings suggest that exposures that occur before the influence of a prior message 'wears off' could cause the risk of smoking to accumulate over the long term," study co-author Steven Martino was quoted as saying. "This might explain why exposure to these media messages can have an enduring effect on people's attitudes and behaviors toward smoking."