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Smoking in the Media – The Influence on Children

Many young people know smoking is not healthy but still think it's cool. A big reason for this is the media. Tobacco and e-cigarette companies spend billions of dollars every year promoting their products at stores, in magazines, and online.

Most ads show smokers as healthy, energetic, sexy, and successful. There are also many TV, video game, and and movie scenes showing people smoking. These scenes promote the idea that lots of people smoke and rarely show the bad consequences of smoking like trouble breathing, cancer, complications with other diseases, or even death.

Things Parents can do to Help Children Understand the Influence of the Media:

  • Talk about ads with your children. Help them to understand the real messages in these ads.
  • Teach your children to be wary consumers and not to believe everything they see and hear on TV.
  • Make sure the TV shows, video games, and movies your children watch do not show smoking as cool or glamorous.
  • Don't let your children wear clothes or hats that promote tobacco and e-cigarette companies or their products.
  • Do not bring any promotional products (like beach towels, coffee mugs, pens, or keychains) into the home that have logos or names of tobacco or e-cigarette companies on them.
  • Talk with your children's school about starting a media education program.

Additional Information:


Last Updated
Adapted from The Risks of Tobacco Use (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 8/2015)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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