Teenagers who live in cities that allow tobacco and cigarette advertising and promotion on a large scale are twice as likely to become addicts compared to those living in a sheltered environment, a new study has reported.

The study conducted by the Stanford University Medical School scientists suggests that tobacco and cigarette advertising influenced teenagers to take up smoking and become addicted. As many as 2,000 teenagers aged between 11 and 14 from three middle schools participated in the survey.

As part of the survey, the researchers gave out questionnaires to all participants to elicit responses about their smoking experiences and the frequency of their visits to places that had several cigarette advertisements such as gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores.

The participants of the survey were followed up by the Stanford researchers after a year and thereafter post 30 months.

Cigarette and tobacco companies make advertisements and promote their products solely to influence competition and sway the consumers. However, what happens is that the tobacco industry in turn only encourages youngsters to take up smoking, says Lisa Henriksen, a senior researcher who commissioned the study.

The urge to pick up such fatal habits such as smoking and alcohol is usually high among teenagers because adolescence is the most vulnerable period in a person’s lifetime. And the advertising industry encourages these teenagers further into this dungeon taking advantage of their vulnerability, the researchers say.

The survey report on how commercial advertising encourages teenagers to hook into the deadly habit has appeared in the in the journal Pediatrics.