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The US National Cancer Institute has released a study that reveals just how powerful the mass media is in swaying public opinion. “This is the first report to conclude that tobacco advertising and promotion increases tobacco use,” said Melanie Wakefield, senior scientific editor of the report. “It’s the first report to make the conclusion that there is a causal relationship between exposure to depiction of smoking in the movies and youth beginning to smoke,” she said.

It took almost four years for this study to be put together and involved over 23 authors and analysis of over a thousand scientific studies.

Here’s an amazing statistic: US tobacco manufacturers spent about $250 billion between 1940 and 2005 on cigarette advertising and promotion in 2006. $250 billion?!?

The study found that Big Tobacco markets their product under several different themes, including: tobacco provides satisfaction, tabacco’s dangers are not a cause for concern, and tobacco is associated with desirable social outcomes.

The CDC also reports that cigarette smoking causes over 400,000 premature deaths every year and reduces the life expectancy of smokers by over 14 years.

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