It's Still All About Peer Pressure
Researcher Hye-Jin Paek (who doesn't have a Myspace, Facebook or blog page...come on Hye-Jin...let's get with the times) has done some interesting research on the affect anti-smoking ads have on middle-schoolers. She claims that ads with a simple authoritarian approach (you know the ones...'just say no') actually lead young people to be more attracted to smoking. I guess the rebellious thrill of doing something adults tell you not to is still cool. I suppose that's validation for me since 75% of my decisions in High School were simply made by doing the opposite of what I thought I was supposed to do. Oh well...mini-victory for James Dean, John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart!
BUT...the story doesn't end there. Paek found that ads were effective in deterring students from smoking when those students believed their peers were also being influenced by said ads. It seems that Paek believes health communicators should take the "Come on man...Nobody's doing it!" approach to tobacco awareness.
All this to say that peer pressure is still alive and kicking in middle schools across America. It's kind of like the Cold Fusion of influence among young people...you figure out how to harness that power and nothing can stand in your way! Let's hope the North Koreans don't get their hands on it first....