Interpersonal, Organizational, and Mediated Messages
Edited By Stuart L. Esrock, Kandi L. Walker and Joy L. Hart
7 With Health Warnings Looming, Is a Lasting Relationship Possible? Testing the Organization-Public Relationship Model with the Tobacco Industry Richard D. Waters
Lung cancer was confirmed to be caused by cigarette smoking over 50 years ago, and since then several other diseases (e.g., coronary heart disease, chronic bronchitis, and cancer of the pancreas, bladder, and kidney) caused by smoking and involuntary exposure to cigarette smoke have been added to the list. Many of these diseases are life threatening, resulting in five million deaths each year (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006). Mackay, Ericksen, and Shafey (2006) reported that half of the world’s 1.2 billion smokers will die from diseases caused by smoking. Due to increased public awareness of such statistics and beliefs about the health risks of smoking, declining smoking rates are reported in numerous developed countries (Peto, Lopez, Boreham, Thun, & Heath, 1992). As knowledge of the health risks caused by tobacco has increased, the prevailing attitudes about smoking and the tobacco industry have also been impacted.
As the public becomes more aware of the dangers of smoking, often attention is directed at the tobacco industry for supplying and marketing an unhealthy product. Current attitudes toward the tobacco industry are mostly negative and are significantly impacted by the media (Davis, Gilpin, Loken, Viswanath, & Wakefield, 2008). For example, nearly three-fourths of the general public thought that tobacco companies have not told the truth about smoking and health consequences (Durkin, Germain, & Wakefield, 2005), and that percentage is slightly higher (80%) among smokers in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom (Hammond, Fong, Zanna, Thrasher, &...
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