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The Annenberg School of Communication on Oct. 19, 2021.

Credit: Riley Guggenhime

A new study by the Annenberg School for Communication found that the short-term effects of smoking are more likely to prevent youth smoking. 

The article was published earlier this year in Tobacco Control. Researchers conducted a three-year survey of young adults between age 13 and 26 that measured their thoughts on the short and long-term consequences of using electronic and normal cigarettes, including JUULs. The results showed that young people will take greater measures to stop smoking due to the short-term consequences, such as being judged by friends, developing headaches, and inhaling chemicals, than long-term outcomes like cancer or infertility, Penn Today reported.

Annenberg doctoral candidates Ava Kikut and Emma Jesch and Wilbur Schramm Professor Emeritus of Communication and Health Policy Robert Hornik co-authored the study.

“Our results suggest that messaging aimed at youth should portray the shorter-term consequences, many of which are social and sensory in nature, such as looking uncool or inhaling chemicals,” Jesch told Penn Today. 

Currently, the University of Pennsylvania is a tobacco-free campus where “all smoking and tobacco use (including the use of smokeless tobacco) is prohibited in all University buildings and facilities,” according to Penn’s Policy Manual.  

According to a previous National College Health Assessment survey, over 70% of Penn students have never used cigarettes. While this means just a minority of Penn students frequently use nicotine, the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General stated that nearly nine out of 10 adult smokers first tried tobacco by age 18. Researchers are focused on targeting younger smokers, such as college students, to teach them the short-term dangers of smoking. 

Penn has been trying to cut down on tobacco use on its campus for years. In 2016, Penn removed dozens of smoker poles on campus

A past study by former Psychiatry and Public Policy professor Caryn Lerman found that using varenicline is more effective to quit smoking than using nicotine patches.