Youths' understandings of cigarette advertisements

Dan Freeman, Merrie L Brucks, Melanie - Wallendorf, Wendy Boland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study addresses two questions: (1) when youths are exposed to advertisements for cigarettes, do they primarily see advertisements for brands or products, and (2) is there a relationship between youths' understandings of cigarette advertisements and their susceptibility to smoking? A sample of 271 participants ranging in age from 7 to 12 viewed a series of print advertisements that included cigarette and non-tobacco-related ads. While viewing each ad, participants were asked to indicate what they thought the advertisement was trying to sell. Responses were coded into one of three categories reflecting important differences in participants' comprehension of each advertisement - no understanding, product category understanding, or brand understanding. Results show that youths typically understand the type of product an advertisement is promoting; however, the levels of brand understanding observed for cigarette advertisements were low in an absolute sense, and significantly lower than brand understanding of non-tobacco-related advertisements. Results also show that understanding cigarette ads as promoting specific brands of cigarettes is positively related to susceptibility to smoking. Taken together, these findings provide a glimpse of the psychological mechanisms that may underlie the well established link between exposure to cigarette advertising and youth smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

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Tobacco Products
Smoking
Marketing
Psychology

Keywords

  • Children and adolescents
  • Cigarette advertising
  • Perceptions and comprehension
  • Susceptibility to smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Youths' understandings of cigarette advertisements. / Freeman, Dan; Brucks, Merrie L; Wallendorf, Melanie -; Boland, Wendy.

In: Addictive Behaviors, Vol. 34, No. 1, 01.2009, p. 36-42.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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