The effect of exposure to tobacco smoking-related media messages on youths' smoking behavior in Jordan: A longitudinal, school-based study


Only a few studies investigated the link between tobacco smoking-related media and youth smoking in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR). This study aimed to assess the influence of both promotional and control messages on cigarette smoking behavior among young Jordanian students. Generalized Linear Mixed Models were analyzed using data from the Irbid Longitudinal Smoking Study that followed a random sample of 2174 students (2008-2011). We examined the associations of media messaging with smoking behavior, as well as intention-to-quit smoking, and intention-to-start smoking, among young adolescents. At baseline, 12.2% and 43.7% of students were exposed to only pro-smoking or only anti-smoking messages, while 41.8% were equally exposed to both. Exposure to anti-smoking messages was associated with lower odds of ever smoking at baseline among girls (AOR = 0.4; 95% CI: 0.2, 0.8). Boys who were exposed to anti-smoking messages were more likely to report an intention to quit, with borderline significance (AOR = 2.0; 95% CI: 0.9, 4.1). The cumulative exposure to anti-smoking messages over time was associated with lower odds of intention to smoke among girls (AOR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3, 0.9) but with higher odds among boys (AOR = 1.8; 95% CI: 1.0, 3.1). In both sexes, media messaging was not associated with progression of the smoking habit. In conclusion, this comprehensive analysis of both pro- and anti-smoking messages advances our understanding of their role in influencing youths' smoking behaviors, and could guide the development of evidence-based interventions to address adolescent tobacco smoking in Jordan and the EMR.

Publication Title

Preventive Medicine