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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: This study sought to identify the media influences on smoking behavior of rural/urban youth aged 15-17 years, who attend high school in the rural town of Dursunbey, a small town in Aegean region of Turkey. In spite of legal restrictions on tobacco advertising in Turkey, tobacco-promoting themes are often seen and heard on television, in popular songs, published media, clothing logos and cigarette delivery vehicles. In contrast, legally mandated anti-tobacco messages are seen infrequently.
Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews with 42 students, 5 school principals, 2 teachers and 2 school counselors, augmented by a cross-sectional, school-based survey of all 10th graders (N=211) in 5 high school in Dursunbey, assessing factors influencing tobacco use behavior.
Results: While 54% of surveyed students reported seeing cigarette advertising in various forms and 78% report seeing tobacco products used in the visual media on at least an occasional basis, 83% report either never seeing anti-smoking messages or seeing these messages less than weekly. Interview results reinforce the survey findings. Informants were generally unreflective about the anti-smoking messages rarely seen on television, although many noted that these messages are usually broadcast at two or three a.m. This plus direct observation of television programming indicates that compliance with the mandated monthly 90-minute anti-smoking allotment is low. In contrast, all interviewees reported seeing smoking on TV. The romanticizing of smoking is common in Turkish pop songs, so that several informants could recite smoking-related lyrics at will in songs such as “One Last Cigarette.”