Study highlights what’s worsening the tobacco epidemic among South Asian teens

The new research appeared in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

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In South Asia, a tobacco epidemic is wreaking havoc on adolescents, with ineffective anti-tobacco television and digital advertising campaigns responsible for a rise in the substance’s use, new research in Nicotine & Tobacco Research finds.

According to researchers at the University of York, the results were established after evaluating data from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, implicating more than 24,000 adolescents. The participants were based in countries like India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

Despite the efficient way of reducing tobacco use, by banning the sale of cigarettes to adolescents, anti-tobacco literacy taught in schools were shown to be ineffective at curbing its usage. The reason for this, researchers suggest, might be the result of ineffective television and digital advertising of anti-tobacco campaigns for adolescents.

“The study provides a vital message for policy makers that the current form of anti-tobacco media campaigns are unlikely to work on young people in South Asia and suggests evidence on the effectiveness of being taught at school about the harmful effects of tobacco is also inconsistent,” researchers stated in a news release.

“Our study provides important insights on several wider environmental factors that are associated with tobacco use among adolescents in South Asia, which is backed up by robust analysis.”

“The associations between tobacco use and pro-tobacco factors were strong but the associations with anti-tobacco factors lacked strength and consistency in this study population,” the findings concluded.

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