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Youthful Smokers Favor Three Cigarette Brands by Huge Margin

Youthful Smokers Favor Three Cigarette Brands by Huge Margin

WASHINGTON—Who says advertising doesn’t work? A new study finds that three heavily advertised brands of cigarettes—Marlboro, Newport, and Camel—are the most popular with American teen-agers. Indeed, 88% of high school seniors who smoke use one of the three. They are also the choice of 86% of 10th graders and 82% of 8th graders.

The findings come from an annual survey of illicit drug, alcohol, and cigarette use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

It was released by Vice President Al Gore and Donna E. Shalala, secretary of Health and Human Services, at separate events on “Kick Butts Day,” a nationwide campaign aimed at educating children and teens about the dangers of tobacco use.

The survey involved some 50,000 students in private and public schools nationwide. Of these, 2,050 8th graders, 7,710 10th graders, and 2,330 12th graders were quizzed about their brand preferences in cigarettes.

Among the study’s other findings:

  • Marlboro is the most popular cigarette, with 70% of 12 graders and 60% of all smokers among the three age groups making it their brand of choice.

  • Among black 12th graders, 80% preferred Newport, whose marketing heavily targets African-Americans.

  • Marlboro and Newport brands were equally popular with boys and girls.

  • Frequent smokers are more likely to have a usual brand.

  • Outside of the three most popular brands, less than 2% of students smoke any of the other 20 brands listed on the survey.

Vice President Gore also emphasized findings from a study released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which coordinated Kick Butts Day. It concluded that:

  • Tobacco companies target young people with their advertising. Teenagers are 2.5 times as likely as adults (75% to 31%) to report having seen tobacco advertising in the previous 2 weeks.

  • Among teens and children, 78% say tobacco companies target them to become smokers.

  • The media falsely influences youthful perceptions. On average, based on the tobacco advertising they see, the young believe that two-thirds of adults smoke. In reality, less than 25% do.

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