Teenage Smokers Prefer 2 Major Brands
CDC Says Marlboro and Newport Are Top Choices of Young Cigarette Smokers
WebMD News Archive
Feb.12, 2009 -- Teenage smokers prefer the Marlboro and Newport brands by
hefty margins, the CDC says.
Data analyzed from the 2004 and 2006 National Youth Tobacco Survey show that
43.3% of established smokers in middle school and 52.3% in high school prefer
Marlboro. Newport came in second, favored by 26.4% of smokers in middle school
and 21.4% of smokers in high school.
The findings are reported in the Feb. 13 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report, published by the CDC.
In each survey year of the analysis, about 27,000 students completed
questionnaires that asked how many cigarettes they had smoked in their lifetime
and if they had smoked in the past month. An established smoker was defined as
someone who reported smoking at least 25 cigarettes in his or her life or had
smoked at least one cigarette in the previous month.
Brand preference differed by sex among middle schoolers; 49.6% of girls
preferred Marlboro, compared with 37.6% of boys. For high school smokers, 54.5%
of girls used Marlboro compared to 50.2% of boys.
Most African-American student smokers used Newport, a mentholated brand.
Since the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, which forbids tobacco
advertising targeting people under 18, ad expenditures for cigarettes in
magazines with more than 15% youth readership have decreased.
But alternative publicity methods, including sponsorship of public
entertainment, sample distribution, and point-of-sale promotion are likely
being used to go after young people, the CDC says.
Though self-reported youth exposure to pro-tobacco messages declined in the
2000-2004 period in all media except the Internet, most youngsters are still
getting pro-tobacco messages.
In 2004, the CDC says 81% of young people saw smoking on television or in
the movies, 85% in tobacco ads in stores, 50% in ads in newspapers and
magazines, and 33% on the Internet.
"The National Cancer Institute and the Institute of Medicine have
recommended that stronger and more comprehensive regulations are needed to
protect youth from exposure to all forms of advertising and promotional
activities by tobacco companies," the CDC report says.
Awareness of brand preferences provides clues about how to counter
pro-smoking messages and perhaps reduce the number of youngsters who start
smoking, the CDC says, adding that raising prices would help.