The Association between Point-of-Sale Advertising Bans and Youth Experimental Smoking: Findings from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS)

AIMS Public Health. 2015;2(4):832-844. doi: 10.3934/publichealth.2015.4.832. Epub 2015 Dec 18.


Background and objectives: while existing research has demonstrated a positive association between exposure to point-of-sale (POS) tobacco advertising and youth smoking, there is limited evidence on the relationship between POS advertising restrictions and experimental smoking among youth. This study aims to fill this research gap by analyzing the association between POS advertising bans and youths' experimental smoking.

Methods: Global Youth Tobacco Surveys from 130 countries during 2007-2011 were linked to the WHO "MPOWER" tobacco control policy measures to analyze the association between POS advertising bans (a dichotomous measure of the existence of such bans) and experimental smoking using weighted logistic regressions. All analyses were clustered at the country level and controlled for age, parents' smoking status, GDP per capita, and country-level tobacco control scores in monitoring tobacco use, protecting people from smoke, offering help to quit, warning about the dangers of tobacco, enforcing promotion/advertising bans, and raising taxes on tobacco.

Results: The results suggest that a POS advertising ban is significantly associated with reduced experimental smoking among youth (OR = 0.63, p < 0.01), and that this association is seen for both genders (boys OR = 0.74, p < 0.1; girls OR = 0.52, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: POS advertising bans are significantly associated with reduced experimental smoking among youth. Adopting POS advertising bans has the potential to reduce tobacco use among their youth in countries currently without such bans.

Keywords: Global Youth Tobacco Survey; MPOWER; Point-of-sale advertising ban; experimental smoking; youth.