While it is well known that teenagers are susceptible to the power of suggestion, a German study discovered that exposure to cigarette advertisements significantly increases the likelihood that a teenager will start smoking.
The study, which was published in the Journal Pediatrics, discovered that cigarette advertisements are more effective than advertisements for other products such as cellphones and candy aimed at the teen demographic. 13 percent of the 2,100 participants, ranging in age from 10 to 17, began smoking cigarettes during the nine-month study.
According to the researchers, young people are especially susceptible to the subtle messages in tobacco advertisements, which frequently imply that smoking is associated with masculinity for males and thinness, sex appeal, and independence for females. While ad exposure affected a teen’s chances of smoking, other factors such as older age, poverty, poor school performance, and having smoking friends can also cause teens to pick up the habit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18, which can lead to a variety of pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension, stroke, and lung cancer. Avoiding the habit now can save money on life insurance and health insurance premiums later in life.