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Talking Tobacco

Interpersonal, Organizational, and Mediated Messages

Series:

Stuart L. Esrock, Kandi L. Walker and Joy L. Hart

Despite the widely recognized toll of tobacco and increasing action to curb tobacco use (e.g., increased excise taxes, smoking bans), smoking continues. Numerous messages about tobacco, smoking, and health circulate throughout society, but in spite of the prevalence of such messages and the importance of how they are constructed and interpreted, too little communication research has been dedicated to understanding and assessing tobacco-related messages. Talking Tobacco addresses the shortcoming. Featuring the work of top communication scholars, the volume advances theoretical knowledge, reviews state-of-the-art research, and shares new findings and insights on a variety of tobacco-related areas ranging from tobacco control efforts to corporate representations.
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7 With Health Warnings Looming, Is a Lasting Relationship Possible? Testing the Organization-Public Relationship Model with the Tobacco Industry Richard D. Waters

Extract

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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