Some effects of tobacco sponsorship advertisements on young males

Janet Hoek, Philip Gendall and Mark Stockdale

Regulation of tobacco promotions has generated considerable controversy and, in New Zealand, has led to legislation banning sponsorship by tobacco companies. However, the reported findings of research into the effects of tobacco promotions on young people have proved contradictory and have not provided sufficiently unambiguous evidence to justify the replacement of self-regulatory codes by legislation. This study examined the effects of a tobacco sponsorship advertisement on young males and found that a single exposure to the advertisement reinforced existing behaviour among smokers, created more favourable attitudes to smoking among non-smokers, increased non-smokers' brand awareness and influenced their brand preferences. Though these findings do not constitute a case for abandoning self-regulation of advertising, they do suggest that corporate promotions can act as product promotions, thus circumventing the voluntary codes designed to regulate them.