Tobacco advertisements really do prompt teenagers to smoke, say the authors of a new study that calls for a ban on cigarette ads.
In research involving more than 2,100 public school students in Germany, 277 young people who had never smoked before took up the habit after viewing tobacco advertising. Those who saw the most ads were 46 percent more likely to try cigarettes than those who saw no tobacco ads, the study found.
This "just adds weight to the idea of having the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] be able to control tobacco marketing," said study co-author Dr. James D. Sargent, a professor of pediatrics and family and community medicine at Dartmouth Medical Center in New Hampshire.
Sargent, who has done extensive research on the influence of media on teen behaviors, worked with German researchers to produce the study, published online Jan. 17 in advance of print publication in the February issue of Pediatrics.
"This [study] is very important because there are few, if any, longitudinal studies," demonstrating a link between tobacco advertising and teen smoking, said Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation, an anti-smoking organization.