It was found that even if stricter guidelines prohibiting smoking or other tobacco images in youth films were adopted, such guidelines would not affect youth exposure to older films already published and available in the form of downloads, distribution and television (CDC 2011). In addition, it seems that teenagers watch films rated R (Sargent 2007b). Therefore, anti-smoking ads have been recommended to show films that show smoking (USDHS 2010). New media channels offer both promises and challenges to youth smoking prevention. Monitoring and combating the use of new media by the tobacco industry will be an ongoing challenge for researchers and regulators, but they must become an essential part of tobacco control. The tobacco content that currently exists on the Internet – thousands of pages with some kind of pro-smoking or protabac – can potentially expose large numbers of young people and young adults to low-cost tobacco for tobacco companies. Interest in tobacco companies` products and brands is already there, with a consumer base that actively uses the internet to exchange information and brag about their favorite brands in the vast world of the internet. These consumers act as “brand ambassadors,” as distributors have called it. But unlike brand ambassadors that a tobacco company can send in person to promote cigarettes in bars or clubs, virtual brand ambassadors cost nothing.
Indeed, with or without the support of tobacco companies, the sector has achieved a valuable goal in digital marketing: consumer chat, recommendations and brand advertising, all with little or no effort. Selling tobacco online is almost entirely “viral” or spread by consumers themselves, as they use the social networking functions of different websites. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of tobacco incidents per youth rating film decreased by 95.8%, from an average of 23.1 incidents per film to an average of 1.0 (CDC 2010). For non-MPAA independent companies and the three MPAA members without anti-smoking policies, the number of tobacco incidents decreased by 41.7%, from an average of 17.9 incidents per youth film in 2005 to 10.4 incidents in 2010. Of the three companies with an anti-smoking policy, 88.2% of their best-reported youth films were free of tobacco incidents, compared to 57.4% of youth rating films in non-police companies (Viacom, News Corp, Sony and independent producers) (CDC 2011). In the late 1990s, two tobacco companies launched television media campaigns to prevent youth smoking in the United States. A youth smoke prevention campaign by Philip Morris, based on several television advertisements and magazines with the slogan “Think. “Don`t Smoke” operated from 1998 to 2002 (Sussman 2002); According to the company, the target group was young people aged 10 to 14 (Sussman 2002). In 1999, a second Philip Morris campaign with the article “Talk. They`ll Listen,” made his television debut.
This campaign focused on parents talking to their children about cigarettes and ran until the end of 2006.