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.
Published by Elsevier Inc.