Expatica news

Anti-smoking campaign reaps positive results

9 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Around 5 percent of smoking teenagers in Belgium gave up cigarettes as a direct result of a hard-hitting anti-smoking drive, it was reported on Thursday.

The figure applies to French Belgian youngsters aged between 13 and 15 who were interviewed during a TV advert campaign conducted by the Rodin Foundation.

A total of 222 young people were interviewed before and after the adverts were broadcast.

The study showed that the adverts made two out of every three young people sit up and take notice, a sign of their shocking and provocative message.

Twenty five percent of the French speakers interviewed said the adverts showed the “fatal consequences of tobacco,” compared with 40 percent on the Flemish side.

Four percent of 13 to 15-year-olds were able to repeat verbatim the message of the adverts that “every cigarette destroys you.”

By contrast, barely a third of young viewers understood the slogan “the truth without a filter.”

One quarter of those taking part believed the adverts exaggerated the harmful effects of smoking.

The results were presented this week by the Centre for Research and Information for Consumer Organisations (CRIOC).

The campaign, which was called “the truth without a filter”, was shown on the main Belgian channels between 6 April and 6 June.

It was originally created by the Australian public authorities and the Rodin Foundation adapted it for a Belgian audience.

Critics say the adverts need to be upgraded to show the dangers of dependency on cigarettes as there was a focus on the harm caused by smoking without stressing the problem of addiction.

The study also reveals the influence of social and family backgrounds on smoking habits.

The tendency towards smoking increases by 24 percent among young people whose parents, sisters and brothers smoke.

Marc Vandercammen, director general of CRIOC, warned however that the results of the survey should be seen in the context of the limited number of participants.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news