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Effect of Ending an Antitobacco Youth Campaign on Adolescent Susceptibility to Cigarette Smoking—Minnesota, 2002–2003

April 16, 2004 / Vol. 53 / No. 14

MMWR Highlights

Youth Prevention Campaigns
  • The majority of people who become regular cigarette smokers begin smoking during adolescence.
  • Comprehensive state anti-tobacco programs, especially those with strong advertising (i.e., paid media) campaigns, have contributed to the substantial decline in youth smoking since 1997.
Study Findings
  • In Minnesota, annual funding for tobacco-control programs was reduced from $23.7 million to $4.6 million in July 2003, ending the Target Market (TM) campaign directed at youths since 2000.
  • To assess the effects of cutting the state’s tobacco control funding, during November–December 2003, a survey of Minnesota adolescents aged 12–17 years was conducted to determine their awareness of the TM campaign and their susceptibility to smoking, which is an important predictor of adolescent tobacco use.
  • The percentage of adolescents who were aware of the TM campaign declined from 84.5% during July–August 2003 to 56.5% during November–December 2003, and the percentage of adolescents susceptible to cigarette smoking increased from 43.3% to 52.9%.
  • Between the July–August 2003 and November–December 2003 surveys, a related increase in susceptibility to smoking, from 43.3% to 52.9%, occurred among youth in Minnesota.
  • These findings are consistent with data from a previous study in Massachusetts that documented an increase in illegal tobacco sales to minors following funding cuts to that state’s antitobacco program.
  • The decline in campaign awareness and increase in adolescent susceptibility in Minnesota suggest that antitobacco funding cuts could reverse the recent declines in youth tobacco use.
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