Measuring Exposure to Protobacco Marketing and Media

A Field Study Using Ecological Momentary Assessment

Published in: Nicotine & Tobacco Research, v. 14, no. 4, Apr. 2012, p. 398-406

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2011

by Steven C. Martino, Deborah M. Scharf, Claude Messan Setodji, William G. Shadel

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INTRODUCTION: The aims of this study were to validate ecological momentary assessment (EMA) as a method for measuring exposure to tobacco-related marketing and media and to use this method to provide detailed descriptive data on college students' exposure to protobacco marketing and media. METHODS: College students (n = 134; ages 18–24 years) recorded their exposures to protobacco marketing and media on handheld devices for 21 consecutive days. Participants also recalled exposures to various types of protobacco marketing and media at the end of the study period. RESULTS: Retrospectively recalled and EMA-based estimates of protobacco marketing exposure captured different information. The correlation between retrospectively recalled and EMA-logged exposures to tobacco marketing and media was moderate (r = .37, p < .001), and EMA-logged exposures were marginally associated with the intention to smoke at the end of the study, whereas retrospective recall of exposure was not. EMA data showed that college students were exposed to protobacco marketing through multiple channels in a relatively short period: Exposures (M = 8.24, SD = 7.85) occurred primarily in the afternoon (42%), on weekends (35%), and at point-of-purchase locations (68%) or in movies/TV (20%), and exposures to Marlboro, Newport, and Camel represented 56% of all exposures combined and 70% of branded exposures. CONCLUSIONS: Findings support the validity of EMA as a method for capturing detailed information about youth exposure to protobacco marketing and media that are not captured through other existing methods. Such data have the potential to highlight areas for policy change and prevention in order to reduce the impact of tobacco marketing on youth.

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