The influence of advertising messages on the smoking habits of teenagers
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Hellenic Centre of Disease Control and Prevention, Laboratory Assistant, Technological Education Institute, Lamia, Greece
Professor, University of Nicosia, Cyprus
Professor of Pneumonology, Rector, University of Thessaly, Greece
Aristidis Vasilopoulos   

Τaygetou 3rd Par. 23 Lamia – 35100, Greece
Pneumon 2011;24(2):188–193
Smoking is a significant cause of deaths that could be prevented. Active and passive smoking both contribute to the development of chronic diseases and increased mortality. The early initiation of smoking habits and constant exposure to tobacco products increase the relative risk factor in the occurrence of serious acute or chronic health disorders. In addition to the negative health effects, smoking has a discernible economic impact on the smokers themselves and on the health system of the country and detrimental effects on the social aspects of the population. The mass media and the internet appear to have an important role in increasing the smoking habits of the population. Encouragement of individuals to smoke is accomplished through advertisements which exculpate the negative smoking effects, displaying pictures of health, psycho-emotional balance and feelings of independence and social acceptance. It appears that the recipients of this kind of message are mainly adolescents, who are more susceptible to be influenced towards developing smoking habits, in the absence of anti-smoking advertisements and messages. The effects of smoking in adolescence and the influence of the mass media on the development of smoking habits constitute a multiactorial problem with immediate and long-term socio-economic effects. The coordinated efforts of public and private organizations, with the support of health professionals, could contribute greatly to increasing the awareness of the dangers and to combatting the problem.
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