The Role of Social Media in Influencing Smoking among Youths

Ayman T and Ameen T

Published on: 2020-03-27

Abstract

Smoking has been known to have multiple health effects which means society bears the cost of the smokers’ health costs. Tobacco consumption results in increased health costs to society. The economic costs of smoking is more than the direct health costs. Historically anti-smoking campaigners have lobbied against tobacco advertisements and smoking portrayal in movies and traditional forms of media. Social media has been known to be used for cigarette promotion. This phenomenon could result in the tobacco industry finding a way around the restrictions on advertising. They could use social media as their new marketing platform. This is worrying, especially as most social media users tend to be the youth. Studies that show a relationship between initiation of smoking among youth and images of smoking. Advertising has been identified as a major influencer for new smokers. This paper discusses the impact social media has on initiating smoking and argues that restrictions may need to be imposed on images of people smoking on social media. This paper addresses the issue of Tobacco industry potential use of social media as an ‘advertising’ platform.