Nav: Home

Study Links Cigarette Promotional Gear With Children's Smoking

December 15, 1997

LEBANON, NH--A study of some 1,300 sixth through twelfth graders in New Hampshire and Vermont reveals that one-third of those students own items of the promotional gear that has been heavily hyped by several tobacco companies during the past seven years. The study is published Dec. 15 in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Tobacco companies, which spend $1.5 billion yearly on promotional gear give-aways, are challenging in federal court Food and Drug Administration regulations prohibiting this type of marketing.

The investigation, led by James D. Sargent, MD, a researcher at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center) and pediatrician at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD), shows a strong relationship between children's tendency to be regular or beginner smokers and ownership of the cigarette logo-emblazoned clothing, backpacks, camping gear and electronics.

"We found that, in effect, children are being used to market cigarettes to their peers," said Dr. Sargent. "Children in sixth grade are in a formative stage, just developing attitudes about whether to smoke and what's in it for them. When children wear these T-shirts, jackets and backpacks with cigarette logos they become promotional tools. It's like having a billboard in your school. We believe that our findings from this study support regulations from the FDA to restrict the distribution of these items by tobacco companies."

Results from the study showed that children who owned promotional items were four times more likely to be smokers than those who did not, even after researchers adjusted their results to take into account the effects of factors such as friends and family smoking. Among children who are not regular smokers, ownership of gear is associated with higher levels of smoking uptake, which predicts likelihood of becoming a regular smoker in the future.

Researchers found that even though only five percent of children in the schools were actually wearing an article of clothing with a cigarette logo on the day of the survey, 40 percent of children reported seeing a cigarette promotional item on the same day. This finding points to the high visibility and strong messages sent by the items. Marlboro, followed by Camel, comprised the most commonly reported brands on student-owned cigarette promotional items, 60 percent and 30 percent respectively.

"The most concerning finding from this study is that ownership of these items is associated not just with being a smoker, but with higher risk of becoming a smoker in the future," said Sargent. This suggests that promotional items play a role in the smoking initiation process among younger children. "Peer cigarette promotion appears to be a powerful pro-smoking message to children. This study offers compelling reasons to oppose this marketing tactic. The tactic actually may be more successful for cigarette companies in appealing to children than traditional advertising such as the Joe Camel character."

The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Related Smokers Articles:

Most remaining smokers in US have low socioeconomic status
After decades of declining US smoking rates overall, most remaining smokers have low income, no college education, no health insurance or a disability.
Radiotherapy risks are much higher for smokers
Smokers treated for breast cancer have much higher risks than non-smokers of developing lung cancer or heart attack as a result of radiotherapy -- according to a new study funded by Cancer Research UK and published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
E-cigarettes popular among smokers with existing illnesses
In the US more than 16 million people with smoking-related illnesses continue to use cigarettes.
Smokers' memories could help them quit
Rather than inciting fear, anti-smoking campaigns should tap into smokers' memories and tug at their heartstrings, finds a new study by Michigan State University researchers.
Among colon cancer patients, smokers have worse outcomes than non-smokers
In an analysis of more than 18,000 patients treated for colon cancer, current smokers were 14 percent more likely to die from their colon cancer within five years than patients who had never smoked.
Diabetes proves deadly for smokers
While it is well known that smoking causes lung cancer, heavy smokers with diabetes are also at increased risk of death from causes other than lung cancer, according to a study being presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
New treatment for depressed smokers trying to quit
Researchers pinpoint why depressed smokers have a harder time resisting relapses.
Smokers with depression try to quit more often but find it harder
People diagnosed with depression are about twice as likely to smoke as the general population.
Differences found between smokers and non-smokers who develop lung cancer
Tobacco smoke is known to be the main risk factor for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), although non-smokers can get it too.
Heavy smokers and smokers who are obese gain more weight after quitting
For smokers, the number of cigarettes smoked per day and current body mass index are predictive of changes in weight after quitting smoking, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine.

Related Smokers Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...