Pro-tobacco influences and susceptibility to smoking cigarettes among middle and high school students--United States, 2011

J Adolesc Health. 2013 May;52(5 Suppl):S45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.07.007.


Purpose: Smoking is a leading cause of cancer, and most smokers begin during adolescence. We examined the proportion of adolescents exposed to pro-tobacco advertising and assessed the association between this exposure and susceptibility to smoking.

Methods: Data from the 2011 National Youth Tobacco Survey were used to calculate the proportion of susceptible middle school (MS) and high school (HS) students exposed to pro-tobacco advertisements through stores, magazines, and the Internet. Following previous work, susceptibility to smoking cigarettes was defined as "never smoked but open to trying cigarettes."

Results: In 2011, 81.5% of MS students and 86.9% of HS students were exposed to tobacco advertisements in stores; 48.2% of MS students and 54.0% of HS students were exposed to such advertising in magazines. Exposure to tobacco advertisements on the Internet was similar for MS (40.8%) and HS students (40.2%). Of those surveyed, 22.5% of MS students and 24.2% of HS students were susceptible to trying cigarettes. Exposure to magazine advertising declined from 71.8% in 2000 to 46.1% in 2009 among susceptible MS students; however, exposure increased to 55.4% in 2011. Tobacco advertising seen through the Internet among susceptible HS students increased from 25.9% in 2000 to 44.7% in 2011.

Conclusions: Adolescents continue to be exposed to pro-tobacco advertisements. Adolescents susceptible to smoking are more likely to report exposure to pro-tobacco advertisements. In addition to continued monitoring, more effective interventions to eliminate youth exposure to pro-tobacco marketing are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising*
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Media
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology