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Nicotine Tob Res. 2006 Jun;8(3):467-71.

Consequences of marketing exceptions in the Master Settlement Agreement: exposure of youth to adult-only tobacco promotions.

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Center for Survey Research, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02125, USA.


The Master Settlement Agreement between a consortium of tobacco companies and 46 states contains many restrictions on tobacco sales and advertising that were designed to reduce youth exposure to tobacco promotions. Most of the restrictions include an exception for "adult-only" facilities. The present study investigated the extent to which youth are being exposed to marketing that is presumably limited to adults. Using data from a statewide random-digit-dialed survey of 3,863 Massachusetts youth aged 12-17 years, we found that about half of all youth in this age group reported seeing cigarettes advertised at events, concerts, bars, or clubs in the past 12 months, and that about 5% of youth in this age group reported being present at a venue where free samples of cigarettes were being distributed. Youth exposed to this marketing were those most at risk for progression to established smoking. To our knowledge, this is the first study to estimate youth exposure to advertisements designed for adult-only venues. In light of the large body of evidence that exposure to tobacco advertising and promotion increases tobacco use among youth, our findings demonstrate the need to close the "adult-only" loophole.

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