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Editorial | Pro-Tobacco Content in Social Media: The Devil Does Not Have All the Best Tunes

There is good documentation on the ways that traditional tobacco marketing promotes adolescent smoking. A Cochrane systematic review found that in 18 of 19 longitudinal studies, the “nonsmoking adolescents who were more aware of tobacco advertising or receptive to it, were more likely to have experimented with cigarettes or become smokers at follow up.” As well as mass media advertising, smoking imagery in movies has further normalized tobacco use and celebrated smoking as an aspirational behavior.

The online world has amplified this hazard; recent studies have shown the tobacco industry’s extensive efforts in using social media to create consumption communities around their brands. Online tobacco “marketing” is likely to be covert, making it difficult to identify and reach those responsible.

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Citation: Thomson, G., Wilson, N., & Hoek, J. (2012). Pro-tobacco content in social media: The devil does not have all the best tunes (editorial). Journal of Adolescent Health, 50(4) 319-320.