Laws Regulating Tobacco Sales and Industry Marketing Affect Teen Smoking Rates Says Survey in Massachusetts

Study of the influence of tobacco marketing and counter advertising on smoking initiation among youth

    • December 9, 2005

Between November 1997 and February 1998, researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health conducted a follow-up survey of youth interviewed in the 1993 Massachusetts Tobacco Survey of Youth.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP) (for more information see Program Results).

Under the study, the researchers examined whether the 1993 Massachusetts tobacco laws, a statewide anti-smoking campaign, and tobacco company marketing practices had affected youth smoking initiation by 1997.

Key Findings: Researchers found that:

  • Adolescents living in towns that in 1993 had laws regulating sales of cigarettes to minors were less likely to smoke in 1997 than adolescents living in towns without such laws.
  • Teenagers who recalled anti-smoking television advertisements were less likely to have started smoking than teenagers who could not recall the advertisements.
  • Adolescents who owned a tobacco promotional item were more likely to have started smoking than were adolescents who did not own a promotional item.