Tob Control 7:129-133 doi:10.1136/tc.7.2.129
  • Original article

Adolescents’ responses to cigarette advertisements: links between exposure, liking, and the appeal of smoking

  1. Jeffrey Jensen Arnetta,
  2. George Terhanianb
  1. aDepartment of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA, bGraduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Dr JJ Arnett, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri, 31 Stanley Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211-7700, USA.arnett{at}


    OBJECTIVE To evaluate adolescents’ responses to cigarette advertisements for different brands.

    DESIGN Adolescents were shown one print advertisement for each of five cigarette brands (Camel, Marlboro, Kool, Benson & Hedges, and Lucky Strike). They indicated on a structured questionnaire how many times they had seen the advertisement (or one almost like it), how much they liked it, whether or not they thought it made smoking more appealing, and whether or not it made them want to smoke cigarettes of that brand.

    SETTING Middle school and high school classrooms, seven schools in four states in the United States (New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas). The classrooms were selected randomly within each school.

    PARTICIPANTS 534 adolescents in grades 6–12 (ages 11–18 years) from seven schools in four states, 54% female, 76% white.

    RESULTS The advertisements for Camel and Marlboro were more likely than the advertisements for the other brands to be seen, to be liked, to be viewed as making smoking appealing, and to influence adolescents to want to smoke cigarettes of that brand. More than 95% of the adolescents had seen an advertisement featuring Joe Camel or the Marlboro Man at least once, and more than 50% had seen these advertisements six or more times. Nearly half believed that the Joe Camel advertisement makes smoking more appealing, and 40% believed that the Marlboro Man advertisement makes smoking more appealing. Adolescent smokers were more likely than non-smokers to believe that the advertisements for Camel and Marlboro make smoking more appealing.

    CONCLUSIONS The advertisements most popular among adolescents are for two of the brands they are most likely to smoke—Marlboro and Camel. The results of the study are consistent with the view that certain cigarette advertisements enhance the appeal of smoking to many adolescents.

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