ERIC Number: ED426121
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Reference Count: N/A
Californians Concerned about Youth Smoking, Majority Believes Media Has Negative Effect. Growing Up Well. Focus on Prevention.
Kelch, Deborah Reidy
This report, second in a series of eight, highlights some of the findings from two recent surveys of the opinions of adult Californians on products and policies affecting youth tobacco use. The specific focus is on public perceptions of the role of the media in affecting youth tobacco consumption. The surveys were conducted in October and November of 1997 for the California Center for Health Improvement. Of those surveyed, 52%, including 40% of smokers, believed that the media is having a negative effect on children and youth in their attitudes toward smoking. The survey also found that people of color and adults with less than a high school education are more likely to believe the media has a negative effect on youth attitudes about tobacco. Additional research is required to explain the different smoking prevalence rates among age, gender, and ethnic subgroups of California youth and to clarify whether these perceptions are true. Seven of ten Californians surveyed believe that smoking by actors and actresses in movies and on television influences minors to start smoking. The surveys also found that a majority of Californians (57%), including 39% of surveyed smokers, support establishing some rules about how tobacco products are used in movies and television. The very limited support for government standards or prohibitions suggests that early strategies to change tobacco depiction in the media should focus on public education along with initiatives to raise awareness about and within the industry. Some of the programs with the potential to do this are described. The surveys also captured the views of Californians on other issues related to smoking by young people. A majority of Californians surveyed (53%), including 35% of surveyed smokers, believe that increasing tobacco taxes will discourage people from smoking, especially children and youth. Policy recommendations to help prevent tobacco use include supporting and expanding public and private efforts to education and mobilize the entertainment industries to take responsibility for the depiction of tobacco in the media. Other strategies, including increasing state excise taxes on tobacco, are suggested. (Contains seven tables and seven references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: California Wellness Foundation.
Authoring Institution: California Center for Health Improvement, Sacramento.
Identifiers - Location: California