Tobacco Marketing Linked to Start of Adolescent Smoking

Research on initiation of teenage smoking

This two-part research study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, developed a greater understanding of the natural history of adolescent addiction to nicotine and the determinants of smoking uptake, particularly the impact of tobacco marketing.

The research was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Tobacco Policy Research and Evaluation Program.

This analysis, based on a comparison of the 1989 and 1993 Teenage Attitudes and Practices Surveys, examined the validity of a measure of smoking susceptibility to predict subsequent smoking behavior among adolescents.

Tobacco marketing is one environmental variable that is associated with becoming susceptible to smoking.

Key Findings:

  • The study determined that during the smoking uptake process, adolescents develop expectations and beliefs about smoking during a "susceptibility" level that precedes early experimentation.
  • The study concluded that smoking susceptibility is a valid measure for predicting future smoking behavior.
  • The study documented that adolescent smoking initiation can be linked historically to cigarette marketing campaigns and promotions.

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