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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: Cigarette advertising and promotion have been found to have an impact on smoking among adolescents. This paper presents findings of the first study in Southeast Asia to examine exposure to cigarette advertising and promotion among adolescents in Malaysia and Thailand and their relation to smoking behaviour and attitudes.
Methods: Respondents from the ITC Southeast Asia Youth Survey were 1000 youth in Thailand and 1009 youth in Malaysia between the ages of 13 and 17. Within each country, the respondents were sampled from households using a multi-stage cluster sampling design. Respondents completed a 30-minute self-administered questionnaire. All survey questions and study procedures were standardized across the two countries.
Results: Malaysian adolescents were more likely than their Thai counterparts to report having seen cigarette advertising through various media. Male adolescents reported greater exposure to tobacco marketing. Exposure to cigarette advertising and promotion was associated with adolescent smoking: Adolescents who noticed things that encouraged smoking, who saw cigarette advertising at sports or cultural events, were offered free cigarette sample, noticed competitions or prizes related to cigarettes, or who owned items with a cigarette brand were more likely to smoke. These adolescents were also more likely to have positive attitudes and beliefs about smoking and to perceive smoking as socially acceptable, to believe that most young men smoke, and that smoking controls body weight. These findings among youth in Southeast Asia—a critical region for tobacco control—reinforce the importance of comprehensive restrictions on advertising and promotion as called for in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.