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Receptivity to tobacco marketing and susceptibility to smoking among non-smoking male students in an urban setting in Lao PDR


Background Tobacco marketing is a contributing factor to adolescent smoking, and now targeting adolescents in low- and middle-income countries. Especially, promotional items with tobacco brand logos have a great impact on adolescent smoking.

Objective The authors evaluated whether receptivity to tobacco marketing is associated with susceptibility to smoking among non-smoking male students in Lao PDR.

Methods The authors conducted a cross-sectional study with self-administered questionnaires among 526 non-smoking male students in grades 8th and 11th (aged 12–19 years) in Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR. The authors investigated receptivity to tobacco marketing by three measurements: awareness of tobacco marketing, recognition of tobacco marketing messages and owning/being willing to use promotional items. The authors then conducted multiple logistic regression analysis to determine whether marketing receptivity had an independent association with smoking susceptibility, which is defined as the absence of a firm decision not to smoke.

Results About 20% of the participants were susceptible to smoking. Recognition of marketing messages was significantly associated with susceptibility to smoking (OR=1.76, 95% CI 1.01 to 3.08), as was any owning/being willing to use promotional items with recognition of marketing messages (OR=2.39, 95% CI 1.34 to 4.24). In contrast, any owning/being willing to use promotional items without any recognition of marketing messages was not significantly associated with susceptibility.

Conclusions A significant association was detected between smoking susceptibility and marketing receptivity, which has been little explored in previous research in low-income countries. Owning/being willing to use promotional items was associated with smoking susceptibility only when there is also recognition of marketing messages.

  • Advertising and promotion
  • low-/middle-income countries
  • social marketing
  • public policy
  • global health
  • cessation
  • addiction
  • harm reduction
  • prevention
  • primary healthcare

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