Lassen sich Jugendliche durch Werbung tatsächlich verführen?

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Diverse Studien sollen beweisen, dass die Werbung einen entscheidenden Einfluss auf das Rauchverhalten hat. Doch so klar ist die Beweislage nicht.

Lassen sich Jugendliche durch Werbung tatsächlich verführen?
© imago images/Dirk Sattler Ob Werbefiguren wie der Marlboro-Mann Jugendliche zum Rauchen verleiten, ist wissenschaftlich nicht abschliessend geklärt.

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Das zentrale Anliegen der Tabakinitiative, über die wir am 13. Februar abstimmen, ist das Bestreben, dass Jugendliche gar nicht erst zur Zigarette, zum Verdampfer oder zum Kautabak greifen. Wenn man diese Produkte nicht mehr bewerben darf, könnten viele Mädchen und Jungen vom Einstieg abgehalten werden – so die Hoffnung.

Aber wie gross ist der Einfluss der Werbung tatsächlich auf das Rauchverhalten der Jungen? Für die Initianten der Initiative Kinder ohne Tabak ist klar, dass der Einfluss der Werbung «deutlich» und «gross» sei. Gerne wird dabei generell auf verschiedene Studien verwiesen, die das belegen sollen.

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Gute Erfahrungen in Frankreich

Sehr gut dokumentiert sind die gesundheitlichen Gefahren, welche mit dem Rauchen einhergehen. Beim Einfluss der Werbung hingegen wird vor allem auf ausländische Studien verwiesen, etwa auf das Standardwerk zum Thema, eine Übersicht der amerikanischen Gesundheitsbehörde aus dem Jahr 2012. Demnach würden Jugendliche, die der Tabakwerbung stärker ausgesetzt sind, später eher mit dem Rauchen anfangen. Und die Werbeexposition an den Verkaufsstellen könnten einen Einfluss haben.

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Sucht Schweiz, welche die Initiative unterstützt, verweist etwa auf die Erfahrungen in Frankreich. Dort hätten die Werbeeinschränkungen einen starken Effekt erzielt: 1991 wurde im Nachbarland ein umfassendes Werbe- und Sponsoringverbot eingeführt. Nach der Einführung dieses Gesetzes seien die Verkäufe innert sechs Jahren um 14 Prozent gesunken.

Doch es gibt eben auch Untersuchungen, welche die Wirksamkeit eines Werbeverbots stark relativieren. So kamen etwa zwei Forscher der Universität Villanova in Pennsylvania 2008 bei der Zusammenfassung verschiedener Studien zum Schluss, dass «Werbeverbote für Zigaretten keine massgebliche Auswirkung auf den Konsum haben». Ähnlich das Fazit einer Studie, die vom deutschen Institut für Marken- und Kommunikationsforschung erstellt und 2019 präsentiert wurde. Eine der Haupterkenntnisse: Werbeverbote helfen wenig, um den Konsum von Tabakprodukten zu reduzieren. In gesättigten Märkten diene die Werbung vor allem zur Differenzierung von Marken.

Konsum aus Neugierde

Einen handfesten Streit löste die Interpretation einer Studie zum Werbeverbot erst kürzlich aus. So betonte das Nein-Komitee auf seiner Website, dass Werbung nicht der Treiber für den Tabakkonsum von Jugendlichen sei. Das sehe auch die Stiftung Sucht Schweiz so. Die Organisation wehrte sich umgehend. Die Initiativgegner würden die HBSC-Studie falsch interpretieren, die 2018 in der Schweiz durchgeführt wurde. Diese erkundigte sich nach den Motiven, mit dem Konsum von E-Zigaretten zu beginnen. Der Einfluss der Werbung wurde jedoch gar nicht als Antwortkategorie aufgeführt. Aber 90 Prozent haben laut Sucht Schweiz angegeben, dass sie aus Neugier konsumieren. Deshalb ist für die Organisation klar, «dass Werbung an die Neugierde appelliert, darüber herrscht Konsens».

«Allzu grosse Sprünge sind mit einem Werbeverbot wohl nicht zu erwarten.»

Armando Meier, Mitautor der grössten Schweizer Studie der letzten Jahre, hat 80’000 Jugendliche zu ihrem Zigarettenkonsum und ihren Einstellungen zum Rauchen befragt. Sein Fazit zur Wirkung der Werbung: «Wir wissen aus wissenschaftlicher Sicht wenig darüber, wie sich verschärfte Werbeverbote tatsächlich auf das Rauchverhalten Jugendlicher auswirken.» Persönlich gehe er davon aus, dass eine gewisse Wirkung erzielt werden könne, aber allzu grosse Sprünge seien wohl nicht zu erwarten.

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