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Novelty-seeking teens more receptive to tobacco advertising, new study shows

(Philadelphia, PA)-- Adolescents who demonstrate impulsive and risk-taking behavior and an increased need for stimulation, a personality trait known as "novelty-seeking," are more receptive to tobacco advertising and are at high risk for smoking initiation according to a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Georgetown University. Research results appear in the October issue of Health Communication.

"To better understand the influence of tobacco advertising on youth, this study sought to identify subgroups of adolescents who have been most receptive to tobacco advertising and promotional activities," said lead author Janet Audrain, PhD, member of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Penn's School of Medicine. "While previous research has shown that receptivity to tobacco advertising is associated with higher levels of smoking among adolescents, few studies have examined how variability in personality traits among adolescents may make certain teens more receptive to tobacco advertising."

Audrain led a research team that interviewed 1,071 ninth-grade adolescents at five public high schools. These students completed a questionnaire that assessed smoking habits, exposure to other smokers, receptivity to tobacco advertising, and the novelty-seeking personality trait.

The researchers determined the level of receptivity to tobacco advertising by measuring whether adolescents could name an often-advertised cigarette brand, had a favorite tobacco advertisement, and if they possessed or were willing to use a tobacco industry promotional item. Novelty-seeking was measured by the adolescents' responses to questions regarding impulsive and sensation-seeking behaviors.

Forty-four percent of the adolescents had moderate to high levels of receptivity. The researchers found that adolescents in this group were more likely
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Contact: Megan Kasimatis
mkasimat@mail.med.upenn.edu
215-746-6828
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
13-Oct-2003


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