Something real: A social marketing approach to smoking prevention among Montevideo youth

Jose L Medina, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Uruguay has some of the strictest tobacco-control laws in Latin America. Despite this, youth smoking rates in Uruguay are amongst the highest in South America. Thus, it is important to identify strategies to prevent youth smoking in Uruguay. The current qualitative research study sought to identify intrapersonal and socioenvironmental factors that are associated with smoking among middle school youth in Uruguay. It also sought to develop potential prevention strategies and media messages that would resonate with youth for a social media campaign. The study was grounded in social cognitive theory and the theory of reasoned action/planned behavior, among other behavioral science theories; anthropological perspectives were also considered. To achieve these goals, 29 group and individual structured interviews were conducted in two private middle schools catering to lower and higher SES youth in Montevideo, Uruguay during the summer of 2012. One hundred and three study participants, including students, parents, and teachers, were interviewed. The structured interviews were recorded, transcribed, translated, back translated, coded and analyzed. The study findings show that positive attitudes towards smoking (i.e. to be seen, to increase status, to ensure women's equality, to looking old, and to service as a rite of passage), delinquent behavior (i.e. transgression/deviant behavior), social norms that support smoking (i.e. peer pressure and modeling, group membership/sense of belonging, parental modeling, and family support), easy access and availability to tobacco (i.e. retails stores) were factors associated with youth smoking. Potential protective factors may include parental support, negative attitudes towards smoking, sports/music, and smoke-free environments. Because study participants are accustomed to government-sponsored strong countermarketing graphic imaging, study participants selected even stronger images and messages as the preferred way to receive tobacco prevention messages. Something Real ("Algo Real") was a theme that resonated with the participants and chosen as the name for the proposed campaign. This campaign was designed as a multiple component intervention that included mass, school base, and family based strategies to prevent tobacco use. Some intervention materials specific to these intervention components were developed to target relevant intrapersonal and socioenvironmental factors identified above. These materials will be tested in future pilot studies and larger scale evaluation with this population, outside the scope of this dissertation.

Subject Area

Marketing|Behavioral psychology|Public health

Recommended Citation

Medina, Jose L, "Something real: A social marketing approach to smoking prevention among Montevideo youth" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3564207.