ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A new Washington University study finds underage kids are getting some pro-tobacco messages directed at them via the Internet and social media.
Tobacco companies aren’t allowed to advertise to children, but this study found more than 10 percent of high school students are receiving ads and promotions thru social media outlets or text messaging. And that, says lead researcher Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, is worrisome.
“The association is that if they’re exposed to these tobacco promotions, then the likelihood that they’re going to believe that smoking makes you look cool, or smokers have more friends, is higher,” she says.
Researcher Melissa Krauss says in some cases, the kids are in middle school:
“Younger children, so those that are 12 to 13 that you wouldn’t normally think would be exposed to these messages, are seeing them,” she says.
The study wasn’t able to determine whether the tobacco companies sought out the kids—or vice versa—or whether these children were getting them because they share a device with a family member who smokes.
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