DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Stores saturated with ads and promotions for cigarettes constitute a significant public health concern, especially for youth. Our previous longitudinal study, the Survey of Teen Opinions about Retail Environments (STORE Study), combined data from school-based surveys of approximately 2,100 middle school students at baseline and 12 months with in-store observations from a census of 53 stores in a California community. Results demonstrated that: (a) adolescents are widely exposed to ads and promotions for cigarettes at the point of sale; (b) stores where adolescents shopped frequently contained significantly more marketing materials and shelf space for cigarettes than other stores in the same community; (c) never smokers who reported at least weekly exposure to such marketing were almost twice as likely as other peers to report ever smoking after one year; and (d) the more exposure adolescents reported, the greater the chances of experimenting. This proposal seeks continued funding to better understand the relationship between adolescents' exposure to retail tobacco marketing and progression toward smoking. Specifically, the proposed research aims to conduct a follow-up survey of the STORE panel when the participants are in Grades 9-11, approximately 18 months since the panel was last surveyed in Grades 7-9, to test whether retail marketing exposure predicts current smoking and still predicts ever smoking. Additionally, it will test whether our previous results generalize to a different setting and population by surveying adolescents (Grades 6-8) at baseline, 12 months (Grades 7-9), and 30 months (Grades 9-11) in an urban community with a substantially larger proportion of African American youth. Given concerns about the tobacco industry's targeted marketing practices, a combination of data from in-store observations and student surveys will assess whether the nature, frequency, and impact of exposure to retail tobacco marketing is more problematic for African Americans than other youth. Secondary analyses will compare different process explanations for the influence of retail tobacco marketing on progression toward smoking. The proposed research would improve our understanding of the health risks associated with exposure to retail tobacco marketing and provide a scientific rationale for new policies to reduce it.
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