Purpose: Youth who engage with online tobacco marketing may be more susceptible to tobacco use than unengaged youth. This study examines online engagement with tobacco marketing and its association with tobacco use patterns.
Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of youths aged 12-17 years who participated in wave 1 of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (N = 13,651). Engagement with tobacco marketing was based on 10 survey items including signing up for email alerts about tobacco products in the past 6 months. Logistic regression was used to examine the association of online engagement with tobacco marketing and susceptibility to use any tobacco product among never-tobacco users, ever having tried tobacco, and past 30-day tobacco use.
Results: An estimated 2.94 million U.S. youth (12%) engaged with ≥ one forms of online tobacco marketing. Compared with no engagement, the odds of susceptibility to the use of any tobacco product among never-tobacco users was independently associated with the level of online engagement: adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.48 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-1.76) for one form of engagement and AOR = 2.37 (95% CI, 1.53-3.68) for ≥ two forms of engagement. The odds of ever having tried tobacco were also independently associated with the level of online engagement: AOR = 1.33 (95% CI: 1.11-1.60) for one form of engagement and AOR = 1.54 (95% CI, 1.16-2.03) for ≥ two forms of engagement. The level of online engagement was not independently associated with past 30-day tobacco use.
Conclusions: Online engagement with tobacco marketing may represent an important risk factor for the onset of tobacco use in youth.
Keywords: Adolescents; Cigarette smoking; Engagement with online tobacco marketing.
Copyright © 2017 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.