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Open Access Adolescent Attentional Bias toward Real-world Flavored E-cigarette Marketing

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This issue is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND (Version 4) This issue is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND (Version 4)
Objectives: E-cigarettes are now the most commonly-used tobacco product among adolescents; yet, little work has examined how the appealing food and flavor cues used in their marketing might attract adolescents' attention, thereby increasing willingness to try these products. In the present study, we tested whether advertisements for fruit/sweet/savory-flavored ("flavored") e-cigarettes attracted adolescent attention in real-world scenes more than tobacco flavored ("unflavored") e-cigarettes. Additionally, we examined the relationship between adolescent attentional bias and willingness to try flavored e-cigarettes. Methods: Participants were 46 adolescents (age range: 16-18 years). All participants took part in an eye-tracking paradigm that examined attentional bias to flavored and unflavored e-cigarette advertisements embedded in pictures of real-world storefront scenes. Afterwards, participants' willingness to try flavored and unflavored e-cigarettes was assessed. Results: In support of our primary hypothesis, adolescents looked longer and fixated more frequently on flavored (vs unflavored) e-cigarette advertisements. Moreover, this attentional bias towards flavored e-cigarette advertisements predicted a greater willingness to try flavored vs unflavored e-cigarettes. Conclusions: These findings suggest that flavored e-cigarette marketing attracts the attention of adolescents, increases their willingness to try flavored e-cigarette products, and could, therefore, put them at greater risk for tobacco initiation.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 2018

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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