Tobacco promotions still reaching youth

April 2, 2014 by Milly Dawson, Health Behavior News Service
Tobacco Promotions Still Reaching Youth

Teens and young adults who are exposed to marketing materials for tobacco products, such as coupons and websites, were far more likely to begin smoking or to be current smokers than those not exposed, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"For several years, the emphasis in the has been on this sort of direct marketing, especially to who are highly price sensitive and who may find coupons, samples, and promotions appealing," said lead author Samir Soneji, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

The U.S. government has made efforts over time to limit . In the 1960s, health concerns about tobacco prompted Congress to ban cigarette ads on television and radio. In 2010, the FDA prohibited tobacco company sponsorship of sporting and entertainment events and to children younger than 18, among other measures to further regulate tobacco.

Soneji's research team explored whether exposure to coupons and promotional websites would increase the chances of a youngster starting to smoke and/or being a current smoker. "We found that both direct mail [coupons] and exposure to tobacco websites were associated with increased chances of smoking initiation and current smoking." He emphasized that the study isn't showing causation, but rather a striking degree of association.

During 2011, the researchers recruited a sample of 2,541 young people between ages 15 and 23. Each participant completed both a phone-based and a web-based survey. The youths received $10 for the phone survey and additional $10 or $25 for completion of the web based survey. "Overall, 12 percent of 15- to-17-year olds and 26 percent of 18- to-23-year olds were exposed to either form of direct-to-consumer tobacco marketing," coupons received via US mail or websites, the authors wrote.

Although the websites are supposedly restricted to adults, youngsters may have gained access by using their parents' or another adult's login information. "Stricter, better enforced regulation on the recipients of direct-to-consumer tobacco marketing could reduce youth smoking." In the meantime, parents who smoke who remove their names from industry mailing lists may decrease their children's exposure to and, in turn, the risk of their children smoking, the authors wrote.

"This article is important for all concerned about ," said Richard Brunswick, M.D., a physician who has written an evidence-based primer on smoking cessation entitled Can't Quit? You CAN Stop Smoking. "Much remains to be done with regards to enforcement [of FDA powers to control tobacco marketing] so that adolescents and don't obtain materials or access to websites that promote the use of tobacco, the only product available that kills those who use it as directed."

Explore further: Internet, social media expose youth to tobacco

Related Stories

Internet, social media expose youth to tobacco

April 1, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Tobacco companies are barred by law from advertising their products to children, but researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that many teens and pre-teens are getting ...

With training, friends and family can help loved ones quit tobacco

February 5, 2014
Today, one in five people in the U.S. smokes tobacco. Traditionally, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers have been the ones to deliver smoking cessation messages. A new study in the American Journal of Health Behavior ...

Mums and grans back plain, standardised packaging to protect children from tobacco marketing

August 26, 2013
While the UK government remains unsure about the effectiveness of removing glamorous packaging on cigarettes, eight in ten women have less doubt and agree that bright, colourful packaging tends to make products more attractive ...

Colorado, Utah move to hike smoking age to 21 (Update 2)

February 21, 2014
Two Western states with some of America's lowest smoking rates are considering cracking down even more by raising the tobacco age to 21.

New anti-smoking policies in China could save nearly 13 million lives in next 40 years

February 18, 2014
Almost 13 million lives could be saved by 2050 in China if the country implements comprehensive tobacco control recommendations set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Recommended for you

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.