Online tobacco marketing and subsequent tobacco use

Samir Soneji, Jaewon Yang, Kristin E. Knutzen, Meghan Bridgid Moran, Andy S.L. Tan, James Sargent, Kelvin Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Nearly 2.9 million US adolescents engaged with online tobacco marketing in 2013 to 2014. We assess whether engagement is a risk factor for tobacco use initiation, increased frequency of use, progression to poly-product use, and cessation. METHODS: We analyzed data from 11 996 adolescents sampled in the nationally representative, longitudinal Population Assessment for Tobacco and Health study. At baseline (2013-2014), we ascertained respondents' engagement with online tobacco marketing. At follow-up (2014-2015), we determined if respondents had initiated tobacco use, increased frequency of use, progressed to poly-product use, or quit. Accounting for known risk factors, we fit a multivariable logistic regression model among never-users who engaged at baseline to predict initiation at follow-up. We fit similar models to predict increased frequency of use, progression to poly-product use, and cessation. RESULTS: Compared with adolescents who did not engage, those who engaged reported higher incidences of initiation (19.5% vs 11.9%), increased frequency of use (10.3% vs 4.4%), and progression to poly-product use (5.8% vs 2.4%), and lower incidence of cessation at follow-up (16.1% vs 21.5%). Accounting for other risk factors, engagement was positively associated with initiation (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01-1.57), increased frequency of use (aOR = 1.58; 95% CI: 1.24-2.00), progression to poly-product use (aOR = 1.70; 95% CI: 1.20-2.43), and negatively associated with cessation (aOR = 0.71; 95% CI: 0.50-1.00). CONCLUSIONS: Engagement with online tobacco marketing represents a risk factor for adolescent tobacco use. FDA marketing regulation and cooperation of social-networking sites could limit engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20172927
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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