Interpersonal, Organizational, and Mediated Messages
Edited By Stuart L. Esrock, Kandi L. Walker and Joy L. Hart
2 Social Identity and Antismoking Campaigns: How Who Teenagers Are Affects What They Do and What We Can Do About It Meghan Bridgid Moran and Steve Sussman
Although rates of adolescent cigarette use have been declining, the problem has not yet been solved: Over one-fifth of twelfth graders have reported smoking in the past 30 days (Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2008). Because over 80% of current smokers tried their first cigarette before the age of 18 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, 2006), adolescence is a crucial time period on which to focus preventive efforts.
Traditionally, the majority of antismoking public service announcements and mass media campaigns targeting teenagers have focused on the negative health aspects of smoking or teaching teens refusal skills (Farrelly, Niederdeppe, & Yarsevich, 2003). For example, “Stages,” a 2010 ad sponsored by the California Department of Public Health, illustrates this tactic. This ad features a 13-year-old girl playing with her mother’s make-up and jewelry, while the voice of a woman describes how she started smoking because she “wanted to look cool” and how she was manipulated by tobacco companies. At the end of the ad, we see that the voice belongs to a woman who has a tracheotomy, presumably from a tobacco-related illness (California Department of Public Health, 2010). Another ad likens cigarettes to black widow spiders, stating that cigarettes “take a life every 6.5 seconds” (California Department of Public Health, 2008). Ads using tactics similar to these are commonplace: Cohen, Shumate, and Gold (2007) found that the ← 11 | 12 → majority of antismoking ads focus on changing viewers’ attitudes about smoking, with one-third focusing on one or more severe...
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