Social media

Counteracting the Influence of Peer Smoking on YouTube

YouTube, a popular online site for user-generated content, is emerging as a powerful source of peer modeling of smoking. Although exposure to adolescent YouTube smokers increased perceived prevalence among some participants, it simultaneously increased beliefs about smoking’s adverse health outcomes and negative attitudes toward smoking, effects that were associated with reductions in injunctive norms of social acceptability. Interventions that communicate the severity and scope of health risks associated with smoking may undercut the descriptive normative effects of peer modeling of smoking on social media sites such as YouTube.