Background: Despite the potential influence of cigarette advertising on youth smoking, few studies have characterized brand-specific magazine advertising exposure among youths or examined its impact on youth smoking behavior.
Methods: A longitudinal youth survey was conducted to assess baseline exposure to brand-specific cigarette advertising in magazines and to measure subsequent smoking behavior. The sample comprised 1,069 Massachusetts youths, ages 12-15 years at baseline in 1993, and 627 of these youths who were interviewed after 4 years.
Results: Five brands accounted for 81.8% of the gross impressions for magazine advertising among Massachusetts youths. These same brands accounted for 88.4% of the brand market share among 12- to 15-year-old smokers nationally in 1993. The levels of brand-specific advertising exposure in the sample were highly correlated with these national brand market shares (r = 0.96, P = 0. 0002). Among the cohort, baseline brand-specific exposure to cigarette advertising in magazines was highly correlated with brand of initiation among new smokers (r = 0.93, P = 0.0001), brand smoked by current smokers (r = 0.86, P = 0.0004), and brand whose advertisements attracted attention the most (r = 0.87, P = 0.0002).
Conclusion: By documenting a relationship between brand-specific magazine advertising exposure and brand of smoking initiation among new smokers, this study provides strong new evidence that cigarette advertising influences youth smoking.
Copyright 1999 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.