Measuring exposure to pro- and anti-tobacco marketing among adolescents: intercorrelations among measures and associations with smoking status

J Health Commun. 2001 Jan-Mar;6(1):11-29. doi: 10.1080/10810730150501387.


Exposure to tobacco-related marketing has been implicated as one of the risk factors for tobacco use among adolescents. However, tobacco-related marketing exposure has been measured in different ways in different studies, including perceived pervasiveness, receptivity, recognition, recall, and affect. It is not known whether these measures represent one or more underlying constructs and how these underlying constructs are associated with adolescent smoking status. This study analyzed data from 5,870 eighth-grade students in California, collected in 1996-1997 as part of the Independent Evaluation of the California Tobacco Control, Prevention, and Education Program. An exploratory factor analysis of multiple measures of tobacco-related marketing exposure revealed four distinct factors: perceived pervasiveness of protobacco marketing, perceived pervasiveness of antitobacco marketing, recognition of specific anti-tobacco advertisements, and receptivity to protobacco marketing. Receptivity to pro-tobacco marketing showed the strongest association with smoking status; higher levels of receptivity were associated with higher levels of smoking. Two measures of exposure to anti-tobacco marketing (perceived pervasiveness of anti-tobacco marketing and recognition of specific anti-tobacco ads) were highest among established smokers and lowest among susceptible nonsmokers. The same pattern was evident for perceived pervasiveness of pro-tobacco marketing. Results suggest that exposure to tobacco-related marketing is a multidimensional construct, and each dimension may have a unique contribution to the process of smoking initiation. Because adolescents are exposed to numerous pro- and anti-tobacco messages, it is important to develop anti-tobacco media campaigns that can successfully counter pro-tobacco marketing efforts. Potential strategies include targeting the susceptible nonsmokers who are at high risk for smoking and developing messages to decrease receptivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Advertising*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • California / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Tobacco*