Research On Impact Of Tobacco Advertising

To collude something as scientific, it has to be backed by a range of empirical investigations justifying the claim. While it sounds implausible to always arrive at the same conjecture, it has been proven true in numerous instances. However, if the results point otherwise, it gives in new information. Such evidence has also been founded on gauging the relationship between marketing techniques and their impact on consumers.

Research on Tobacco Advertising

cigarette use and cigarette advertisement. These studies identify young people who initially do not smoke and indicate a lack of interest in doing so, and they then track them over time. Between one and four years later, when they were re-interviewed, a sizable portion of these initially verified non-smokers had turned into smokers. In some instances, they stated a desire to smoke, while in others, they had already started. In all three trials, smokers were far more inclined to have advanced towards smoking or started smoking if they had been more familiar with or appreciative of tobacco advertising and if they had gotten or were open to receiving promotional materials from the tobacco businesses.

Longitudinal studies on Tobacco Advertising

There are several studies on tobacco advertising. 1752 California teenagers who had not previously smoked and were averse to doing so were found from a much larger sample in the Pierce et al. California Survey. It should be noted that those who also hesitated and said they would "probably not" smoke were excluded from this category. These "non-susceptible" teenagers said they would "definitely not" (1) try smoking soon, (2) accept a cigarette if presented via one of their closest buddies, or (3) light up at any point in the upcoming year. These "non-susceptible" teenagers underwent telephone and follow-up interviews three years later.

These young people were more likely to have advanced towards smoking uptake three years later if they could initially name a favorite cigarette ad and possessed or were open to possessing a tobacco promotional item. The results revealed that tobacco promotion and advertising operated independently of other variables like peer or family smoking. The likelihood that someone would have moved towards smoking three years later was approximately three times higher for those most susceptible to advertising and promotions.

In another investigation, 640 Glasgow adolescents between 11 and 14 were questioned twice, separated by a year. Those who initially said they would not smoke were more prone to have still noble motives to smoke a year later if they were more aware of and appreciative of cigarette advertising. Even after statistically controlling for the potential impact of additional factors that could serve as competing explanations for the findings, these characteristics were still highly significant contributors to the teenagers' intentions to smoke (such as socio-economic status and if any known acquaintances smoked).

Lastly, in a study, more than 500 young people who initially disliked smoking were questioned. Relative to those who had never possessed a tobacco promotional item but had mentioned a particular cigarette brand that caught their attention, they had a greater than doubled chance of becoming regular smokers. An exhaustive list of potential confounding factors that could cause the observed association was taken into account statistically. They included smoking among family members and friends, disobedience, and wealth.

Controlled, Causal Experiments

Two experiments supplement the above-mentioned longitudinal investigations. The movie Reality Bites was used to develop two experimental versions as part of a broader investigation. In one, a professional editor removed all smoking-related scenes; in the other, the smoking scenes were kept intact. The ninth graders who did not smoke were subsequently shown the movie without or alongside the smoking sequences.

The likelihood that someone would indicate they intended to smoke increased after seeing the film with the smoking sequences, and the likelihood that they would view smokers—including themselves, who chose to smoke—as more imaginative, more accomplished, fitter, and more athletic increased as well. The inference was that youngsters' inclinations to smoke and their more favorable perception of smokers result from being exposed to smoking by appealing actors.

Pechmann and Knight's experiment sheds more light on how smoking triggers affect young people directly and indirectly by way of their peers. In this study, more than 700 California ninth graders watched a 12-minute "reality" movie with five actors who were also in their grade. The kids who played the performers in the film were first seen in each iteration collecting ads, allegedly for a communications lesson. Cigarette advertisements had been gathered and presented in two of the iterations but not in the other two. The young performers were seen relaxing and eating lunch outside towards the end of each version. They smoked at lunch in two versions but not in the other two.

The participants were then questioned regarding their perception of a smoker and whether they planned to smoke after watching the specific version of the videotape connected with their situation. The findings revealed a direct impact of contact with cigarette advertising during the video: ninth graders who witnessed the cigarette advertisements being gathered and exhibited had a more favorable perception of smoking among teenagers. This main effect was influenced by exposure to peer smoking.

Compared to the other three conditions, those who first watched the tobacco advertisement on the video and then observed their peers (actors) smoking during lunch had a relatively more favorable perception of smokers and increased smoking intentions. In the interest of assessing the impact of the stimuli that young people are exposed to, it was ethically unacceptable for the investigators in the two trials mentioned above to offer cigarettes to the participants. Results were constrained to the adolescents' expressive motives.

Econometric Studies

When accounting for other potential influences, econometric or time-series research has investigated the connection between the amount of tobacco advertisement spending and the degree of tobacco used over time. A meta-analysis that included 50 independent econometric research found that tobacco advertising does increase overall want over the term; the more money spent on advertising, the more people smoke. Most smokers have established smoking habits/levels that are often not amenable to dramatic adjustment, and only a few people start smoking in their adult years. Because of this, it is difficult for econometric studies that concentrate on the general population to demonstrate changes in tobacco consumption from year to year due to variations in advertisement intensity.

Lewit et al. included approximately 5,000 young people aged 12 to 17. They conducted a study concentrating on TV, the medium that was prioritized by the industry throughout this time. The sample of young people was used for time series studies. To establish an approximate experience with cigarette commercials, the researchers first used information about the number of cigarette commercials broadcast on TV for the twelve months preceding each yearly measurement period. They then used each youth's report on how much TV he or she viewed throughout that time.

In addition to these two important metrics, several other measurements were gathered and considered in the analysis. They included the cost of cigarettes for every time frame in the respondents' localities, the percentage of siblings and friends who smoked, the amount of parental smoking, and demographic characteristics, including income. The analysis showed a substantial correlation between the teen's likelihood of currently smoking and the amount of tobacco advertising they had been exposed to on TV during the previous 12 months. They became 11% more inclined to be current smokers every 10 hours a week they watched Television in the preceding year, keeping all other variables equal.


The tobacco industry disputes that its advertising targets young people who do not smoke. However, it seems more plausible that tobacco promotion and advertising affect young people who do not smoke views and increase their likelihood of trying to smoke. Consistently, longitudinal studies show a correlation between exposure to tobacco-related messaging and advertisements and the risk that teenagers would start smoking.

We can conclude that tobacco marketing and advertising raise the probability that teenagers will start smoking due to the magnitude and selectivity of this affiliation, evidence of a dose-response relationship, the solidity of observations throughout innumerable epidemiological studies, the teleology of exposure and smoking habits witnessed, as well as the conceptual viability concerning the effect of advertising.

Updated on: 30-Mar-2023


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