Young adults' perceptions of smoking actors



Publication Details

Jones, S. C. & Rossiter, J. R. (2008). Young adults'' perceptions of smoking actors. Health Education, 108 (6), 450-462.


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of portrayed smoking status of actors ontheir popularity with both smoking and non-smoking young people, as well as their perceptions of theprevalence of smokingDesign/methodology/approach Two experimental studies were conducted with Australianundergraduate university students, in which students were exposed to different versions of mockmagazines featuring images of actors smoking and not smoking, as well as control actors.Findings The attitudes of young people towards well-known actors were little influenced by thepresence or absence of cigarettes, but non-smoking actors were perceived more favourably whendepicted in a group with smoking actors. Smoking actors tended to be preferred by young people whosmoked. The results of both studies confirm that young peoples estimates of smoking prevalence areconsiderably inflated.Originality/value The results of the current study suggest two key implications for healtheducation: the need to address young peoples elevated perceptions of smoking prevalence among theirpeers, parents, and celebrities by communicating the social norm of non-smoking; and the potential useof celebrities such as actors as spokespersons or role models in anti-smoking campaigns.Keywords Tobacco, Magazines, Australia, Young adults, Influence, BehaviourPaper type Research paper

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