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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-52

A cross-sectional study on the role of film stars and peers in smoking initiation and tobacco use among male adolescents aged 13–15 years in Chennai city, Tamil Nadu, India


Department of Public Health Dentistry, Ragas Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Anusha Raghavan
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Ragas Dental College and Hospital, 2/102, East Coast Road, Uthandi, Chennai 600119, Tamil Nadu.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/SDJ.SDJ_110_21

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Background: Exposure to tobacco at a young age leads to a subsequent smoking habit in large proportions of the population in adulthood. Social and mass media have both positive and negative effects on adolescents’ behavior and social skills and therefore play vital roles in driving this behavior. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of film stars on smoking initiation and tobacco use among male adolescents aged 13–15 years in Chennai city, Tamil Nadu, India. Methods: The study adopted a cross-sectional design. In total, 200 students from schools that serve low-income households participated in the study. All the students completed a 20-item questionnaire on the perceived severity of smoking, perceived barriers to quitting, and factors affecting quitting. Results: None of the participants had a history of smoking. One (0.5%) participant stated that he smoked daily. All the participants agreed that exposure to media images of smoking behavior among their favorite film stars would not encourage them to smoke. In terms of peer pressure, one (0.5%) participant stated that he would accept a cigarette if offered one by a friend. Only descriptive information of the collected data was tabulated as the aim of the study was to collect the baseline data and not to test any prespecified hypothesis. Conclusion: In our study, peer pressure seemed to play more influence on the smoking initiation by adolescents than the film stars on mass media. Though all of them agreed that they would not be provoked by media images of film stars smoking, one participant was likely to initiate the habit on being offered by his friend. Hence, the evidence suggests the need for reorientation of research modalities to better identify early initiators of smoking.


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