Adolescent Exposure to Online Advertisements and Promotions for Tobacco Products on the Internet—A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Global Youth Tobacco Surveys

Janni Leung, Carmen Lim, Caitlin McClure-Thomas, Shaun Foo, Susy Sebayang, Ghea Farassania, Fitri Fausiah, Coral Gartner, Gary C.K. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Although many countries have banned tobacco advertising on traditional media platforms, the tobacco industry actively promotes their products via online channels. Adolescents are at high risk of exposure due to spending substantial time online. We examined the prevalence of adolescent exposure to online tobacco advertisements and promotions. Methods: We analyzed data from the Global Youth Tobacco Surveys (GYTS; 2013–2018; average response rate = 76.8%). We included 15 countries in four regions that measured self-reported exposure to tobacco advertising on the internet in the past month (N = 111,356, adolescents aged 11–18): Region of the Americas (Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru), African (Mauritius, Zimbabwe), European (Czech Republic, Turkey), and the Western Pacific (Micronesia, Macao, Papua New Guinea, Samoa). We calculated the prevalence of online exposure to tobacco advertising by past-month cigarette use. Results: Prevalence of adolescent exposure to online advertisements for tobacco products ranged from 18.2%–34.3% and 12.3%–34.4% for tobacco advertisements that “looked fun or cool”. Exposure to online tobacco product advertisements was prevalent across countries, including those with advertising bans in place, and included adolescents who have never smoked (14.4%–28.4% exposed to any, 9.1%–31.0% exposed to fun or cool advertisements). Reporting seeing tobacco advertising online that looked fun or cool was positively associated with the prevalence of past-month smoking (r = 0.64, p = .010). Discussion: A substantial proportion of adolescents in countries that have banned tobacco advertising are still exposed to advertisements for tobacco products online. Internet tobacco advertising needs better enforcement to prevent adolescent tobacco use and uptake worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1144
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume73
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Adolescent Health
  • Adolescent online use
  • Adolescent tobacco use
  • Internet tobacco promotions
  • Nicotine use
  • Tobacco

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