The tobacco industry is important to the economy. In 1991, worldwide tobacco sales exceeded $59.8 billion and in 1992 the industry was rated as one of the top one hundred advertisers (Pechmann and Ratneshwar, 1994). However, there are high prices to pay - socially, economically, and personally - as a result of this industry. Annual mortality figures indicate that cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. An estimated 390,000 people die each year of smoke related illnesses, which is greater than the combined mortality for cocaine, crack, AIDS, homicide, suicide, and alcohol abuse (Botvin, G., Baker, Botvin, E., Dusenbury, Cardwell, and Diaz, 1993).
This paper will review research which suggests that social influences on smoking occur as a result of several external factors that adolescents face on a daily basis - parental factors, peer pressure, and advertising. Many current and past smokers began experimentation and use during their adolescent years. Social influence is a central component of all models of adolescent substance abuse. It is assumed to be a direct predictor of experimentation and initiation with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. One of the major theories that is used to describe this phenomenon is the social control theory. This theory describes bonding factors, such as involvement, family attachment, job or education commitment, and belief in conventional social norms and values. Involvement refers to the idea that individuals who are deeply involved in non deviant activities lack the time to get involved in deviant acts. Attachment to others who value positive norms tends to decrease the likelihood of deviation from the norms as a direct result of the opinions expressed by others. Those with positive work and educational ethics are less likely to deviate as well as long as their commitment is related to conformity of social norms. Belief refers to the no...
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