Background: The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act (TAPA) was implemented in the United Kingdom in 2003. This study is the first to assess its impact on young people, examining smoking susceptibility (intention to smoke among never smokers) and perceived prevalence across three British cross-sectional samples (aged 11-16) before and after the introduction of the ban.
Methods: Three in-home surveys (n = 1078, 1121 and 1121) were conducted before (1999 and 2002) and after (2004) the implementation of the TAPA.
Results: Significant declines in awareness of tobacco marketing and perceived prevalence occurred across the three waves. Higher levels of awareness and perceived prevalence were associated with increased susceptibility, but direct measures of susceptibility remained stable.
Conclusions: The TAPA is protecting young people in United Kingdom from tobacco marketing and reducing perceived prevalence, both of which are linked to susceptibility. The stability of susceptibility across the three waves is probably best explained by both the partial implementation of TAPA at the final survey point and the time such effects take to emerge. The evidence from this and previous studies is, however, that, ultimately, they will appear.