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:

Ex-smokers, light smokers not exempt from lung damage
A new study shows that smoking even a few cigarettes a day is harmful to lungs and that former smokers continue to lose lung function at a faster rate than never-smokers for decades after quitting.
Study of smokers, former smokers in France examines electronic cigarette use association with smoking reduction, relapse
An observational study based on a group of smokers and former smokers in France looked at whether electronic cigarette use was associated with changes in the number of cigarettes smoked, with smoking cessation rates among smokers, and with smoking relapse among former smokers.
Obese people outnumber smokers two to one
New figures from Cancer Research UK show that people who are obese now outnumber people who smoke two to one in the UK, and excess weight causes more cases of certain cancers than smoking, as the charity urges government action to tackle obesity.
New clues about why non-smokers, as well as smokers, develop chronic lung disease revealed
A group of researchers led by the universities of Leicester and Nottingham has discovered genetic differences that put some people at higher risk than others of developing chronic lung disease.
Misperceptions about vaping common among UK smokers
Research from King's College London finds smokers and ex-smokers in the UK overestimate the harm from vaping, with fewer than 6 out of 10 accurately believing that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.
Smokers who roll their own less inclined to quit
Smokers who roll their own cigarettes are less likely to try quitting smoking, according to a new study carried out by UCL.
Postmenopausal smokers now have one less excuse not to quit
Smokers give lots of reasons for not quitting smoking, with fear of weight gain ranking as one of the most favored, but a new study that followed smokers from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) confirms that even modest increases in physical activity can minimize weight gain in postmenopausal women after they have quit smoking.
Vapers and non-smokers have the same flourishing gut flora
The first study of its kind has found that people who vape have the same mix of gut bacteria as non-smokers, whilst smokers have significant changes to their microbiome.
Smokers have worse diets than non-smokers
Smokers have worse quality diets than former smokers or non-smokers, according to a study published in the open-access journal BMC Public Health.
Marijuana may lead non-smokers to cigarettes
While cigarette smoking is declining, marijuana use is rising and, disproportionately, marijuana users also smoke cigarettes.
More Smokers News and Smokers Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab