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UT researchers find link between advertising and increased tobacco use among India's youth
Date:5/2/2008

HOUSTON (May 2, 2008)As the westernization of India accelerates, tobacco advertising and marketing have been linked to increased tobacco use by urban Indian children as young as 11, according to a study by researchers at The University of Texas School of Public Health.

The study, Associations Between Tobacco Marketing and Use Among Urban Youth In India, is published in the May/June issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior.

Findings from an earlier published study by the researchers revealed that in 2004, Indian sixth graders were using three times the amount of tobacco as eighth graders, which the authors found might indicate a new wave of increased tobacco use. The second study sought to discover the reason for the jump.

As India becomes more westernized, more teens will use tobacco, said the studys principal investigator Cheryl Perry, Ph.D., professor and regional dean of The University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus. The sixth graders as a group are already thinking that smoking is cool while the eighth graders havent been as exposed to the Western message.

After the major tobacco company settlements of 1998 that included more stringent laws banning pro-smoking advertising, smoking has dropped among American youth. According to The Monitoring the Future study, daily smoking among eighth graders dropped from 8.8 percent in 1998 to 3 percent in 2007.

The current study is the first in India to demonstrate a strong, dose-response relationship between exposure and receptivity to tobacco advertising and promotions and tobacco use among Indian youth. These associations clearly suggest a need to strengthen policy and program-based interventions to reduce tobacco use among youth in India, said Melissa Stigler, Ph.D., assistant professor at the UT School of Public Health and study co-author, who did much of the ground work in India.

Chewing tobacco and aromatic cig
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Contact: Deborah Mann Lake
Deborah.M.Lake@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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