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Under the Radar: How the Tobacco Industry Targets Youth in Australia

NCJ Number
Drug and Alcohol Review Volume: 21 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 387-392
Todd A. Harper; Jane E. Martin
Date Published
December 2002
6 pages
This article discusses how the tobacco industry targets youth in Australia.
Tobacco advertising encourages children to start smoking and reinforces the social acceptability of the habit among adults and children. Gifts with the purchase of a tobacco product may make young people more likely to take up smoking in the future. Teenagers that can name a cigarette brand readily and that own a tobacco company-sponsored promotional item are more than twice as likely to become established smokers than those that do not. The future of tobacco advertising and promotion will depend largely on the political will to amend current legislation to end these forms of marketing. Exposing to young people how they are being manipulated can provide an alternative to smoking as an act of rebellion, and move them to rebel against the companies themselves. It can also decrease the acceptability of tobacco-sponsored activities. Smoke-free policies can have the effect of reducing uptake of smoking for youth, stopping the transition from experimenting to daily smoking, and motivating teenagers to quit. The response of the industry when challenged about such promotions is that they are justifiable because they are directed at young people over 18-years-old and comply with the law. Plain or generic packaging would remove the positive elements associated with current pack imagery. These indirect strategies used by the tobacco industry to promote their products and influence smoking by young people need to be addressed by the government. The recent announcement by the Federal Government to reassess the current legislative restrictions in light of these new marketing trends is welcome. 1 figure, 37 references