Steven C. Fiala, J. Dilley, Erik M Everson
Sep 24, 2020
Preventing Chronic Disease
Introduction Research from tobacco and alcohol markets suggests advertising exposure is associated with perceptions of lower risk and increased use among young people. Limiting marketing may be a regulatory approach to prevent potential negative effects of retail marijuana legalization on youth use. This study assessed marijuana advertising exposure reported by youths in Oregon after the start of retail marijuana sales in October 2015. Methods Data from a 2017 school-based survey of Oregon 8th (N = 14,852) and 11th (N = 11,895) graders were used to characterize marijuana advertising exposure. Subgroup differences in reported exposure were assessed by using Pearson χ2 tests and multiple logistic regression. Results About three-quarters of 8th (72.2%) and 11th graders (78.1%) in Oregon reported seeing marijuana advertising in the past month. Youths most frequently reported seeing advertising on storefronts and online, and odds of exposure were significantly higher for girls; lesbian, gay, or bisexual youths; current marijuana users; 8th graders living with an adult who uses marijuana; and youths in school districts with a closer average proximity to retail marijuana stores. Conclusion Reporting exposure to marijuana advertising is common among youths in Oregon’s legal retail market. Oregon and other states working to prevent youth marijuana use may want to examine how well their rules are working to prevent youth exposure. Although some sources of youth advertising exposure may be difficult to regulate and enforce (eg, online), others may be within the purview of state authority (eg, billboards, storefronts) depending on state-specific interpretation of free speech protections.