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Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 May 28. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty107. [Epub ahead of print]

Tobacco Marketing and Subsequent Use of Cigarettes, E-cigarettes and Hookah in Adolescents.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.



Tobacco marketing has expanded from cigarettes to other tobacco products through many promotional channels. Marketing exposure is associated with use of that tobacco product. However, it's unclear if marketing for one product leads to subsequent use of other tobacco products.


This prospective cohort study assessed self-reported marketing exposure for six tobacco products across five marketing channels in 11th/12th grade students in 2014. Approximately 16 months later a follow-up survey was conducted online (N=1553) to assess initiation of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and hookah.


Adolescent never smokers with frequent exposure to cigarette marketing on the Internet and in stores are more than two times as likely to begin smoking as young adults (Internet OR 2.98 [95% CI, 1.56-5.66); Stores OR, 2.83 [95% CI, 1.23-6.50]). Never users of e-cigarettes were significantly more likely to initiate use, if exposed to Internet, store and outdoor e-cigarette marketing. Never users of hookah were more likely to use hookah after seeing it marketed in stores. Youth exposed to marketing of e-cigarettes, hookah, cigars, smokeless and pipe tobacco in stores were two to three times more likely to begin smoking cigarettes even though the marketed products were not cigarettes.


Adolescent exposure to marketing of tobacco products is associated with initiation of those products as young adults. Exposure to marketing for non-cigarette tobacco products is associated with subsequent cigarette smoking, even when the promoted products are not cigarettes. Future research and interventions should consider the influence of marketing from multiple tobacco products on adolescent tobacco use.


Adolescents grow up in a rich media environment with exposure to tobacco marketing in both their homes (e.g., through the Internet and television) and their communities (e.g., stores and billboards). This prospective study provides evidence that adolescents exposed to tobacco marketing for multiple tobacco products are more likely to subsequently begin using those products and to begin smoking cigarettes even when the marketing they recall is for different tobacco products. Adolescent exposure to tobacco marketing can increase likelihood of cigarette smoking, e-cigarette and hookah use with potential lifelong health effects.


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