Objective: We assess exposure to direct-to-consumer tobacco marketing and its association with ever having tried smoking, smoking within past 30 days (current), and smoking ≥100 cigarettes in lifetime (established) among adolescents and young adults.
Methods: We surveyed a U.S. telephone sample of 3,342 15- to 23-year-olds and 2,541 respondents subsequently completed a web-based survey. Among respondents completing both the telephone and web-based surveys (N = 2,541 [75%]), we assessed their exposure to direct-to-consumer tobacco marketing (receiving direct mail from tobacco companies and seeing tobacco company websites) and their associations with ever having tried smoking, current smoking, and established smoking.
Results: Overall, 12% of 15- to 17-year-olds and 26% of 18- to 23-year-olds were exposed to direct-to-consumer tobacco marketing. Racial/ethnic minority nonsmoking respondents were more likely to see tobacco websites than nonsmoking whites. Respondents exposed to either form of direct-to-consumer tobacco marketing were more likely to currently smoke (adjusted odds ratio 2.2, 95% confidence interval 1.3-3.8), while those exposed to both forms of marketing experienced even higher odds of currently smoking (adjusted odds ratio 2.7, 95% confidence interval 1.1-6.6). We observed similar relationships for ever having tried smoking and established smoking.
Conclusions: Direct-to-consumer tobacco marketing reaches adolescent and young adult nonsmokers and is associated with smoking behavior.
Keywords: Adolescents; Direct-to-consumer marketing; Tobacco; Young Adults.
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