Investigating the construct of adolescent receptivity to tobacco advertising and promotion
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Worldwide, one in five persons aged thirteen to fifteen in are smokers. Approximately half of the 80,000 to 100,000 children who start experimenting with cigarettes daily are Asian (World Health Organization, 2002). In China, adolescent boys were reported to show a pattern of smoking uptake that was previously observed in the United States (Chen et al., 2001). In Japan, the World Health Organization indicated that there would be a "smoking crisis" if there were no urgent measures to address the level of smoking uptake among females (World Health Organization, 1999). In many Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, tobacco advertising in the broadcast media is banned. However, other countries like China still allow most advertising, but are evaluating new policies on tobacco advertising and promotion (A&P). Much of the impetus for restricting or banning tobacco A&P in Asia has taken the form of limiting the opportunities tobacco marketers have for reaching young smokers. The issue of a relationship between youth exposure to tobacco advertising, and their subsequent smoking has a substantial body of published research. The evidence of this research was associative, but the causality of tobacco advertising on later smoking was reported in early 1998 by Pierce et al. Pierce et al. (1998) used a measure of adolescent receptivity to tobacco advertising in their longitudinal study of nine to eleven year old "never smokers". The authors' reported a causal relationship between the young samples' level of receptivity to cigarette A&P, and their susceptibility to smoke later in life. With this link between receptivity and susceptibility, Pierce et al. presents the strongest evidence for restricting or banning tobacco A&P. The measures used for the Pierce study have been cited in hundreds of studies and adapted or adopted in later tobacco-control research. The measures have also been published and promoted as an index that can measure the receptivity of adolescents towards tobacco advertising, and their later susceptibility to smoking. This article explores the latent constructs that constitute an adolescent's Receptivity to Tobacco IMC. Receptivity has been a construct central to establishing the link between tobacco A&P and an adolescent's progress along the stages of a smoking uptake continuum. There are a number of questions about the validity and reliability of the construct. These questions are tested statistically on the original data set employed by Pierce et al. (1998) that resulted in the finding of causality between Tobacco A&P with smoking uptake. This validation resulted in the finding that .some major conclusions were not supported and raises questions about the validity and reliability of the Receptivity to Tobacco Promotional Activities construct.