Smoking tobacco is part of many societies and cultures. It is also a major cause of many diseases, including cancers. There are many factors that play significant roles in influencing people to smoke, but the most common ones appear to be peer pressure, family history of smoking and the tobacco industry's advertising and media campaigns portraying smoking as a glamorous and socially accepted behavior.
Family smoking and role models are significant factors in influencing young children to smoke. An article in the Journal of Consumer Affairs by Karen H. Smith and Mary Ann Stutts, reported that the most important factors associated with smoking are family smoking behavior, peer pressure and prior beliefs about smoking. Young people tend to imitate their parents behavior. In addition to the notion that smoking is an acceptable behavior, children often see smoking as grown-up behavior, which further encourages them to smoke. Children from families where smoking is prevalent tend to develop the habit and are less likely to quit later in life.
Peer pressure is a significant factor for many people who start to smoke. Economic status, educational level and family history are significant factors that determine the level of peer pressure and the consequences of such pressures. A 1993 study by Cornelia Pechmann, published in Marketing Science Institute, concluded that prior beliefs refer to the images and ideas about smoking that children develop before any formal anti-smoking education. Often these beliefs are subconsciously held and are resistant to education.
Advertising and Media
As with any other type of advertising, advertising by tobacco companies hopes to influence people to smoke. A study published in Journal of Consumer Research by researcher Cornelia Pechmann, concluded that adolescents are influenced and affected by the type of tobacco advertising and media they are exposed too. Although the ways in which tobacco companies can reach the public have been curtailed by legislation, the effects can still be seen by marketing campaigns using cartoon characters, giveaways and free samples.