Adolescents' Reactions to the Imagery Displayed in Smoking and Antismoking Advertisements


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Abstract

This study compared adolescents' unbiased perceptions of the images displayed in smoking and antismoking advertising. Twenty-nine adolescents (ages 11–17) were shown images taken from both advertising types; all images were digitally edited so that no product information appeared in them. Participants described each image in a free-response format and rated each image on self-report dimensions. Content analyses of free-response descriptions and analyses of self-reports revealed that adolescents viewed images taken from cigarette advertisements more positively compared with images taken from antismoking advertisements. These findings suggest that 1 reason for the potency of cigarette advertising, compared with antismoking advertising, is the inherent positive appeal of the images displayed. Antismoking advertising may be more effective at limiting adolescent smoking if the images displayed have a more positive valence.

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