Introduction: Advertising plays a major role in smoking behavior and forming brand preferences. Additionally, the most advertised tobacco brands have also been the most preferred. Maintaining brand loyalty in Latin America remains a priority for the tobacco industry.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore tobacco brand preference trends from 2003 to 2006, and explore marketing and advertising factors that might be associated with these trends.
Study group: Data for this study came from Mexican adolescents residing in cities that participated in the Global Youth Tobacco Survey in both 2003 and 2006 and reported smoking either Marlboro or Camel cigarettes in the past 30 days.
Methods: Respondents reported the brand name of their preferred cigarette during the past 30 days. Multivariate regression analysis was used to determine differences by brand preference and exposure to tobacco marketing and advertising, which was assessed using six items.
Results: In 2003, most adolescents preferred Marlboro. By 2006, older boys preferred Camel cigarettes to Marlboro, while girls' preference for Camel was similar to their preference for Marlboro. Adolescents that preferred Camel cigarettes in 2003 also reported greater exposure to tobacco marketing and advertising.
Conclusion: Findings indicate that there are ongoing shifts in youth brand preference in Mexico, and that these shifts might be related to marketing and advertising practices. There is an ongoing need for monitoring marketing and advertising practices in an effort to protect adolescents from tobacco company exploits.