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Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Big tobacco has done it again! They’ve found a way to circumvent advertisement restrictionyoung girl smoking cigarettes, so finds a recent study done by researchers at the University of Otaga, Wellington, New Zealand. Their study examined YouTube and unsurprisingly enough, found a good amount of pro-tobacco videos on the site.

Most of the pro-tobacco clips found in the study included images related with a particular tobacco brand or people smoking the branded product. Not only does branding appear, but the researchers commented that,

It is disturbing to note that some of the pro-tobacco videos appeared to be of a professional standard, many followed similar themes within a brand and large numbers contained images or music that may be copyrighted to tobacco companies but have not been removed.”

Tobacco companies denied allegations that they are intentionally using YouTube as a means of advertisement.

The possible dangers of these pro-tobacco videos appearing on YouTube? 1.) YouTube attracts more than one billion viewers a day. 2.) Young people account for a large percentage of these viewers. 3.) As Dr. George Thomson points out in an interview with BBC News, “Generally, the more tobacco is normalized, the more kids will take it up.”

Do you think that these pro-tobacco images on YouTube may contribute to tobacco use amongst young people? And should tobacco advertising restrictions be broadened to include Web 2.0?