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Exploring message themes in antismoking advertising targeted at teenagers

Outi Uusitalo (Professor in Marketing at the School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.)
Jenni Niemelä‐Nyrhinen (Researcher, at the School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 14 March 2008

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Abstract

Purpose

Previous studies have indicated that antismoking advertising potentially prevents or reduces smoking among teenagers. However, not all message themes of antismoking advertising have proved effective. This study aims to explore the effects of different message themes on teenagers' intention to smoke. Attitude towards the advertisement and attitude towards the act (smoking) are proposed as mediating variables between the message theme and smoking intentions. The paper also aims to examine effect of three themes, namely health effects, mental effects and social effects on smoking/not smoking.

Design/methodology/approach

The data consist of 325 Finnish high school students aged between 13 and 16. The hypotheses are tested using LISREL 8.

Findings

The paper finds that only the attitudes towards advertisements displaying social effects are significantly related with attitudes towards smoking. The attitudes towards the advertisements portraying the themes of health effects and mental effects are not significantly related with attitudes towards smoking and thus are not effective in influencing the respondents' attitudes towards smoking and smoking intentions.

Research limitations/implications

Data were gathered only in one European country (Finland). Future studies should examine whether teenagers in other European countries differ in the way they are affected by different message themes.

Practical implications

Teenagers are susceptible to messages that are related to social approval of not smoking or disapproval of smoking, thus social appeals should be used in antismoking advertising targeted at them.

Originality/value

This study focuses on exploring how message themes used in antismoking advertising affect smoking intentions among teenagers in the European context and specifically in Finland.

Keywords

Citation

Uusitalo, O. and Niemelä‐Nyrhinen, J. (2008), "Exploring message themes in antismoking advertising targeted at teenagers", Young Consumers, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 29-36. https://doi.org/10.1108/17473610810857291

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited