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Assessing tobacco marketing receptivity among youth: integrating point of sale marketing, cigarette package branding and branded merchandise
  1. Sandra Braun1,2,
  2. Christy Kollath-Cattano3,
  3. Inti Barrientos4,
  4. Raúl Mejía1,2,
  5. Paola Morello2,
  6. James D Sargent5,
  7. James F Thrasher3,4
  1. 1Hospital de Clínicas Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. 2Department of Health Economy & Society, Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  3. 3Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA
  4. 4Department of Tobacco Research, Center for Population Health Research National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Mexico
  5. 5Department of Pediatrics, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr James F Thrasher, Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, 915 Greene St, 534D, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA; thrasher{at}


Background As countries prohibit tobacco marketing through traditional channels, marketing at point of sale (PoS) and through tobacco packaging is increasingly important for promoting tobacco consumption.

Objectives Assess the validity of a novel marketing receptivity index that considers frequency of PoS exposures, tobacco brand recall and ownership of branded merchandise.

Methods Data come from a cross-sectional survey of 3172 secondary school students in Argentina. Questions assessed frequency of going to stores where tobacco is often sold; cued recall of brand names for 3 cigarette packages with brand name removed and ownership of branded merchandise. A four-level marketing receptivity index was derived: low PoS exposure only; high PoS exposure or recall of 1 brand; recall of 2 or more brands; and ownership of branded merchandise. Indicators of marketing receptivity and smoking involvement were regressed on the index, including in adjusted models that controlled for sociodemographics, social influences and sensation seeking.

Findings Among never-smokers, the index had independent positive associations with smoking susceptibility (ie, adjusted OR (AOR)2v1=1.66; AOR3v1=1.64; AOR4v1=2.95), willingness to try a specific brand (ie, AOR2v1=1.45; AOR3v1=2.38; AOR4v1=2.20) and positive smoking expectancies (ie, Badj 2v1=0.09; Badj 3v1=0.18; Badj 4v1=0.34). A more marked dose–response independent association was found with current smoking behaviour (ie, AOR2v1=2.47; AOR3v1=3.16; AOR4v1=3.62).

Conclusions The marketing receptivity index was associated with important variation in smoking-related perceptions, intentions and behaviour among Argentine adolescents. Future research should determine the predictive validity and generalisability of this measure to other contexts, including the explanatory power gained by integrating cigarette package brand recognition tasks.

  • Advertising and Promotion
  • Global health
  • Low/Middle income country
  • Packaging and Labelling

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  • Twitter Follow Inti Barrientos-Gutierrez at @intibarr

  • Contributors SB led the development of the paper. CK-C conducted the analysis and helped draft the paper. IB, RM and PM provided substantial feedback on paper drafts and contributed to the design of the data collection tools. JDS contributed to the conceptualisation of the research idea, advised the data analyses and helped draft the paper. JFT designed the study, conceptualised the research idea and helped draft the paper. All authors helped revise the paper and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding Funding for data collection, analysis and manuscript writing for this study were provided by the Fogarty International Center at NIH (grant R01 TW009274 -01).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Centro de Educación Médica e Investigaciones Clínicas, Buenos Aires.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.