Background: Most tobacco use begins during youth. Thus, this study assessed the prevalence, trends, and correlates of pro-tobacco advertising among United States students in grades 6-12 during 2000-2012.
Methods: Data from the 2000-2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey were analyzed to assess self-reported exposure to pro-tobacco advertisements through three media: over the Internet, in newspapers/magazines, and at retail stores. Trends during 2000-2012 were assessed in a binary logistic regression model (P<0.05).
Results: Among all middle and high school students, the overall prevalence of exposure to Internet pro-tobacco advertisements increased from 22.3% to 43.0% during 2000-2012 (P<0.001 for linear trend). During the same period, declines were observed in the overall prevalence of exposure to pro-tobacco advertisements in newspapers/magazines (65.0% to 36.9%) and at retail stores (87.8% to 76.2%) (P<0.001 for all linear trends).
Conclusion: Exposure to pro-tobacco advertisements over the Internet increased significantly during 2000-2012 among United States middle and high school students, while a decline in exposure to advertisements in newspapers or magazines, and at retail stores occurred during the same period. However, over two-thirds of students still reported retail store exposure to pro-tobacco advertisements in 2012. Enhanced and sustained efforts would be beneficial to reduce even more exposure to all forms of pro-tobacco advertisements among youths.
Keywords: Advertising; Health promotion; NYTS; National Youth Tobacco Survey; Prevalence; School; Smoking; Tobacco; Youths.