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Camel No. 9 ads appeal to teen girls

March 20, 2010

If you think teenagers today are less susceptible to smoking advertisements than those of yesterday — remember all those Virginia Slims "You've come a long way, baby" ads? — you'd be sadly mistaken.

A study published March 15 in the journal Pediatrics shows that the 2007 R.J. Reynolds' cigarette campaign for Camel No. 9 had a significant effect on teen girls. Researchers at UC San Diego and the American Legacy Foundation enrolled more than 1,000 children, ages 10 to 13, in a study in 2003 and followed them through 2008, asking them about their favorite cigarette advertisement.

The proportion of boys who reported having a favorite ad remained stable across five surveys. However, after the launch of the Camel No. 9 ad campaign, which depicts fashion icons and girlish colors, the percentage of teen girls who reported having a favorite cigarette ad increased by 10% — with Camel accounting for almost all of that increase.

Laws prevent tobacco companies from targeting teens through advertising such as the famous Joe Camel ones that were known to most 5-year-olds at one time.

—Shari Roan

Happy with deep conversations

Small talk may be common, but it doesn't do much to nourish our sense of well-being. Compared with people who rated themselves as more unhappy, people who were happiest spent 70% more time talking, had one-third as much small talk and twice as many substantive conversations.

Researchers came to their conclusions by having a group of 79 college students wear a tape recorder for four days and eavesdropping on their conversations. The students also were given tests to measure happiness and personality.

The findings "demonstrate that the happy life is social rather than solitary, and conversationally deep rather than superficial," wrote the authors, from the University of Arizona and Washington University in St. Louis.

It's not clear, however, whether happy people attract others for deep conversation or whether deep conversation makes people happier. Further research should be done, they said, to see whether having more substantive conversations helps unhappy people become happier.

The study is published online in the journal Psychological Science.

—Shari Roan

The rate of natural triplet births — those not resulting from assisted reproductive technology — is 2.5 times as high as it was in the 1970s, probably because of the increased use of ovulation-inducing drugs and the older age of mothers, researchers have reported.

And despite improvements in prenatal care, the death rate for triplets is about 10 times as high as for a singleton, notes the study in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Researchers studied the records of more than 2 million pregnancies in the Medical Birth Registry of Norway from 1967 to 2006, examining all live births and stillbirths after the 16th week of gestation. The highest rate of triplet births was 3.5 per 10,000 pregnancies in the five-year period from 1987 to 1991, probably because of the increased use of assisted reproductive technology and in vitro fertilization. Following the introduction of new guidelines that called for the implantation of only one embryo during IVF, the number fell to 2.7 per 10,000 and has remained constant at that level.

The mother's age at birth increased by 2.5 years during the period, while the cesarean-section rate for triplet pregnancies increased from 46.7% to 92%. The gestational age of triplets at birth fell from 34.1 weeks to 32.1 weeks, accompanied by a fall in the infants' birth weights

The study found that it is very important to prolong the triplet pregnancy beyond the 28th week of gestation, said Dr. Anne Tandberg of the Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway. Before that milestone, the mortality rate is 50%, but beyond it the rate falls to 3.8%.

—Thomas H. Maugh II

health@latimes.com

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