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


Objectives: E-cigarettes are now the most commonly-used tobacco product among adoles- cents; yet, little work has examined how the appealing food and flavor cues used in their mar- keting might attract adolescents’ attention, thereby increasing willingness to try these prod- ucts. 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 ado- lescent 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 embed- ded in pictures of real-world storefront scenes. Afterwards, participants’ willingness to try fla- vored 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, in- creases their willingness to try flavored e-cigarette products, and could, therefore, put them at greater risk for tobacco initiation. Key

Tobacco Regulatory Science