Adolescent exposure to cigarette advertising in magazines: an evaluation of brand-specific advertising in relation to youth readership

JAMA. 1998 Feb 18;279(7):516-20. doi: 10.1001/jama.279.7.516.


Context: Understanding the relationship between cigarette advertising and youth smoking is essential to develop effective interventions. Magazine advertising accounts for nearly half of all cigarette advertising expenditures.

Objective: To investigate whether cigarette brands popular among adolescent smokers are more likely than adult brands to advertise in magazines with high adolescent readerships.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis of 1994 data on (1) the presence of advertising by 12 cigarette brands in a sample of 39 popular US magazines; and (2) the youth (ages 12-17 years), young adult (ages 18-24 years), and total readership for each magazine.

Main outcome measures: The presence or absence of advertising in each of the 39 magazines in 1994 for each of the 12 cigarette brands.

Results: After controlling for total magazine readership, the percentage of young adult readers, advertising costs and expenditures, and magazine demographics, youth cigarette brands (those smoked by more than 2.5% of 10- to 15-year-old smokers in 1993) were more likely than adult brands to advertise in magazines with a higher percentage of youth readers. Holding all other variables constant at their sample means, the estimated probability of an adult brand advertising in a magazine decreased over the observed range of youth readership from 0.73 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.50-0.96) for magazines with 4% youth readers to 0.18 (95% CI, 0.00-0.47) for magazines with 34% youth readers. In contrast, the estimated probability of a youth brand advertising in a magazine increased from 0.32 (95% CI, 0.00-0.65) at 4% youth readership to 0.92 (95% CI, 0.67-1.00) at 34% youth readership.

Conclusion: Cigarette brands popular among young adolescents are more likely than adult brands to advertise in magazines with high youth readerships.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Probability
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Industry*