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Talking Tobacco

Interpersonal, Organizational, and Mediated Messages

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Edited By 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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9 Classroom and Client Collaboration: An Effective Tobacco Reduction Campaign Developed by Students for Students Terry L. Rentner

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Starting college brings newfound freedoms and temptations. Students must make decisions about personal behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol use, which can have long-term effects on their health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2005). According to the American College Health Association (ACHA) results from the spring 2011 National College Health Assessment survey (ACHA-NCHA), 32% of U.S. college students aged 18–24 were smokers. This finding should come as little surprise when one considers that in 2005 the tobacco industry spent more than $1 million a day sponsoring events and giveaways targeting college students (American Lung Association, 2008).

Even more alarming are the misperceptions that college students have about their peers’ tobacco use. College students said that 93% of their peers smoke, well above the actual 32% rate (ACHA-NCHA, 2011). These misperceptions go beyond colleges and universities; students think that the majority of people in the United States are smokers (Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation, 2006). In Ohio, for example, students perceived that more than one half of Ohioans smoke, whereas the actual rate was 26% (Gallup-Healthways, 2011). Both the high smoking rate and these misperceptions surrounding tobacco use suggest that smoking among college students is a serious problem.

In response to the high rates of tobacco use among college students, the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation (OTPF) teamed with an Ohio-based public relations agency to launch Project U, an intercollegiate competition among students ← 137 | 138 → in public relations classes at Ohio colleges and universities. Creating a...

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