Bottorff, J. L, Struik, L. L, Bissell, L. J, Graham, R. B, Stevens, J. & Richardson, CG. (2014). A social media approach to inform youth about breast cancer and smoking: An exploratory descriptive study. Collegian,21(2), 159-168. Netherlands: Elsevier. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2014.04.002
Tobacco exposure during periods of breast development has been shown to increase risk of premenopausal breast cancer. An urgent need exists, therefore, to raise awareness among adolescent girls about this new evidence, and for adolescent girls and boys who smoke to understand how their smoking puts their female peers at risk for breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to develop two youth-informed, gender specific YouTube-style videos designed to raise awareness among adolescent girls and boys about tobacco exposure as a modifiable risk factor for breast cancer and to assess youths’ responses to the videos and their potential for inclusion on social media platforms. Both videos consisted of a combination of moving text, novel images, animations, and youth-friendly music. A brief questionnaire was used to gather feedback on two videos using a convenience sample of 135 youth in British Columbia, Canada. The overall positive responses by girls and boys to their respective videos and their reported interest in sharing these videos via social networking suggests that this approach holds potential for other types of health promotion messaging targeting youth. The videos offer a promising messaging strategy for raising awareness about tobacco exposure as a modifiable risk factor for breast cancer. Tailored, gender-specific messages for use on social media hold the potential for cost-effective, health promotion and cancer prevention initiatives targeting youth.
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