A new study says that tobacco marketing and depictions of smoking in movies promote youth smoking.
The report released by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) revealed that smoking prevention campaigns sponsored by the tobacco industry are generally ineffective and may even increase youth smoking.
"There is now incontrovertible evidence that marketing of tobacco, and the depiction of smoking in the movies, promote youth smoking and can cause young people to begin smoking," said University of Minnesota professor Barbara Loken and one of the report's five scientific editors.
The report concluded tobacco advertising targets psychological needs of adolescents, such as popularity and peer acceptance. Advertising creates the perception that smoking satisfies these needs.
Moreover, brief exposure to tobacco advertising influences adolescents' perceptions about smoking, smokers, and adolescents' intentions to smoke.
The report also said that depiction of cigarette smoking is pervasive in movies, within 75 percent or more of contemporary box-office hits, with identifiable brands in about one-third of movies.
It suggested that a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising and promotion is an effective policy intervention that prevents tobacco companies from shifting marketing expenditures to permitted media.
"This direct link between marketing and tobacco use is very powerful." Loken said.
"Anti-tobacco ads before films and a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising are two effective strategies found to curb effects of tobacco images on youth. Now we need to use marketing to steer youth and others away from tobacco," she added.