This project develops novel bar and nightclub interventions to address tobacco use disparities In young adults (age 18-25). Almost all tobacco prevention efforts concentrate on preventing children and adolescents from experimenting with cigarettes despite the fact that the transition from experimentation to regular smoking and addiction often occurs during young adulthood. The tobacco industry has invested millions of dollars in sophisticated marketing research on young adults, and has a long history of campaigns targeting minority and other vulnerable populations. We hypothesize that successfully competing with industry promotion in social venues will prevent transitions to regular tobacco use among young adults, and promote early cessation efforts, preventing both long term morbidity and mortality from smoking. Preliminary data: We evaluated a social marketing intervention for young adult Hipsters (a trendsetter community focused on the alternative music scene) in San Diego utilizing industry market segmentation strategies to define the target audience and directly countering tobacco industry lifestyle marketing. We found a significant 14% reduction in current smoking in the target community with a larger reduction (22%) among opinion leaders. We now propose to apply the intervention strategy to address tobacco use disparities in minority communities in the San Francisco/Bay Area. Study Design: (1) market segmentation study of young adults socializing in San Francisco/Bay Area to describe the number and size of bar subcultures, their demographic profile including racial/ethnic diversity, and smoking behavior (2) pilot test the feasibility and acceptability of novel social marketing interventions developed for specific subcultures with the greatest potential to impact tobacco disparities. We will utilize quantitative repeated cross sectional surveys and qualitative interviews, focus groups and observations. Cessation by age 30 avoids nearly all the long term health consequences of smoking. The results of this research will improve efforts to eliminate tobacco disparities in young adults and to develop novel targeted message strategies for public health campaigns and for clinical patient counseling.

Public Health Relevance

Young adults (age 18-25) have the highest smoking prevalence of any age group, and disparities in tobacco use persist. Few cessation programs address light smoking patterns common among young adults and minorities. This research will develop novel interventions to address tobacco disparities by countering aggressive tobacco marketing to diverse young adults in social settings and promoting early cessation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Comprehensive Center (P60)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-RN)
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University of California San Francisco
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United States
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