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How effective are tobacco industry bar and club marketing efforts in reaching young adults?
  1. E A Gilpin1,
  2. V M White2,
  3. J P Pierce1
  1. 1Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
  2. 2Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 John P Pierce
 PhD, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, 92093-0645, USA;


Objective: Recently, the tobacco industry has focused marketing efforts on young adults through bar and club promotions, such as advertising and distribution of free cigarettes in these settings. This study estimates the fraction of the California young adult population that might be exposed and potentially influenced by these efforts.

Design and participants: Data were from 9364 young adult (18–29 years) respondents to the cross sectional population based 2002 California Tobacco Survey. As background, we analysed social smoking (only smoke with other smokers), and enjoyment of smoking while drinking. Our main focus was on bar and club attendance, what was observed in bars and clubs, and how this might differ according to respondents’ risk for future smoking.

Results: Social smokers comprised 30.0 (2.2)% of all current smokers, including experimenters. Nearly three quarters (74.5 (2.3)%) of current smokers/experimenters said they enjoyed smoking while drinking. About one third (33.8 (1.2)%) of all young adults said they attended bars and clubs at least sometimes; attendance was significantly higher among smokers and those at risk for future smoking. Close to 60% (57.9 (2.2)%) of bar and club attenders reported seeing cigarette advertising and promotions in these settings. Again, smokers and those at risk were more likely to report seeing such advertising and promotions in these settings.

Conclusions: About 20% of all young adults and about 30% of those at risk for future smoking (including current smokers) were exposed to tobacco advertising and promotions in bars and clubs. These California results may be conservative, but nonetheless indicate that the group potentially influenced is sizable.

  • alcohol
  • tobacco marketing
  • young adults
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  • Competing interests: none declared

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