The immediate response after viewing a cigarette ad or other pro-smoking media message saw a 22 percent increase in smoking intentions of students. Though, the desire to smoke decreased in a week, the thought lingered in their head for those seven days.
"We were surprised how long the influence of pro-smoking messages lasted," study co-author Steven Martino, a psychologist at the RAND Corporation, said. "The results suggest that positive media messages about smoking are likely to influence behavior even if opportunities to smoke occur infrequently," he noted.
"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. This might explain why exposure to these media messages can have an enduring effect on people's attitudes and behaviors toward smoking," Martino explained.