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Nearly 90 Percent of Chinese Children Know Cigarette Logos

Update Date: Sep 30, 2013 09:35 AM EDT

Even though studies have found that social pressures can increase one's risk of smoking, there are several other factors that can influence children to pick up the dangerous habit as well. One of these factors, which anti-smoking campaigns have been combatting against, is how cigarette companies advertise their products. By creating desirable package designs and plastering their logos everywhere on advertisements, these companies are quite effective in drawing in more customers. In a new United States study, researchers found that nearly nine in 10 children from China can accurately identify cigarette logos.

The researchers were interested in studying the cigarette brand knowledge of five- and six-year-old children. They focused their research on five nations that have the highest smoking rates reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). These five countries included China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Russia. The study was designed in the form of a matching game. Children were asked to match a logo to the correct picture. The children were shown cigarette logos, Marlboro and Camel along with local brands from each respective country.

The team found that 68 percent of the children in the experiment, or 2,423 children, could correctly pair at least one cigarette logo to the picture of the product. The highest rates were seen in kids from China. 86 percent of them could accurately identify at least one cigarette logo. The lowest rates were in Russia with half of the children being capable of identifying at least one cigarette brand.

Over 25 percent of the children in general were able to name two to three brands and 18 percent recognized four or more cigarette brands. When the kids were asked about whether or not they wanted to smoke in the future, 30 percent of kids from India reported that they plan on being adult smokers.  When it came to sex differences, boys were more likely to say that they were going to be adult smokers in China, Nigeria, Pakistan and Russia.

"What was amazing to me was how we saw kids who don't live with smokers but were very aware of cigarette brands," lead author Dina Borzekowski of the University of Maryland said according to Medical Xpress. "What that says to me is they are getting their messages through the community, in their environments. They are seeing it at retail establishments, they are seeing posters. When they go off to buy a piece of candy at a local store, they are seeing these logos."

The researchers believe that in order to prevent the youth from smoking, more programs and campaigns need to be created and designed for low and middle-income countries. The researchers believe that these countries need to adopt more regulations on distribution and usage of tobacco.

The findings were published in Pediatrics

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