Background Due to other marketing restrictions, one venue where tobacco companies concentrate their marketing efforts to reach young adults is bars/nightclubs.
Objective This study examined the relationship between exposure to tobacco marketing in bars/nightclubs and number of alternative tobacco/nicotine products used 6 months later among college students.
Methods Participants were 1,406 students aged 18–29 years old who reported going to bars or nightclubs at least rarely (M age=21.95; 67% female; 46% non-Hispanic white). Students completed an online survey in fall 2014/spring 2015 (wave 1) and again 6 months later (wave 2). Multilevel Poisson regression models were used to assess the relationship between exposure to three types of marketing at bars/nightclubs at wave 1 (tobacco/nicotine product advertisements; free samples; industry representatives) and number of tobacco products used (range=0–5) at wave 2, controlling for school type (2 year vs 4 year), age, sex, race/ethnicity and frequency of bar visits. An interaction between the number of wave 1 products and each marketing variable was tested.
Results Greater exposure to free samples and tobacco industry representatives at bars/nightclubs predicted a greater number of products used 6 months later, but only among wave 1 non-tobacco users and not among tobacco users. Exposure to advertisements at bars/nightclubs did not predict the number of products used 6 months later.
Conclusion Tobacco companies claim that marketing is targeted to those who already use the product, not to non-users. However, the current study indicates tobacco marketing in bars and nightclubs may encourage use among non-users and has no influence on current users.
- young adults
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Contributors All authors (ALH, KEP, CNM, AL and CP) have contributed significantly to this work, have seen the contents of the manuscript and agreed to its submission.
Funding Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute (grant number 1 P50 CA180906) and the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).
Disclaimer The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the Food and Drug Administration.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval All study protocols and procedures were approved by the University of Texas at Austin Institutional Review Board.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement No data are available.
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