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University of Hawaii Cancer Center CCSG: Laboratory Studies of Tobacco Advertising and Labeling Effects on Adolescents

University of Hawaii Cancer Center CCSG: Laboratory Studies of Tobacco Advertising and Labeling Effects on Adolescents

Principal Investigator: Jerris Hedges and Thomas Wills

Funding Mechanism:  Intra-Departmental Delegation of Authority (IDDA)

ID Number: 3P30CA071789-14S4

Award Date:  4/14/2014

Institution:  University of Hawaii at Manoa 


Tobacco marketing practices are known to influence adolescent smoking; however, there is a limited understanding of what characteristics make them effective. The goal of this project is to determine what aspects of marketing and packaging create positive reactions toward cigarettes and may encourage adolescents to smoke. Specific aims are: (1) to investigate the role of colors and male and female models in producing positive reactions to cigarette advertising; (2) to investigate the impact of colors and health labels in producing reactions to cigarettes; (3) to examine gender differences in reactions to advertising and packaging; and (4) to investigate ethnic differences in reactions to advertising and packaging. Researchers will conduct two studies, each with an ethnically diverse group of 200 adolescents aged 12-14. In the first study, researchers will modify existing tobacco advertising materials to emphasize different advertisement elements (e.g., colors, use of models); participants will then be asked about their reactions to the modified and unmodified ads. In the second study, researchers will modify existing cigarette packages in two ways: one in which colors are retained but health warning size is increased, and one in which all color and branding information is removed (i.e., plain packaging); participants will be asked about their reactions to the modified and unmodified packages. The studies will assess participant evaluations of the ads, expectancies about smoking, affective reactions, identification with smokers, willingness to smoke, and (in the second study) the extent to which the package makes smoking seem attractive. Research findings will yield information about how aspects of cigarette advertising and packaging could make smoking appear attractive; these findings may be used to inform regulations to address smoking among adolescents.