—Little is known about the influence of advertising on very young children. We, therefore, measured product logo recognition by subjects aged 3 to 6 years.
—Children were instructed to match logos with one of 12 products pictured on a game board. Twenty-two logos were tested, including those representing children's products, adult products, and those for two popular cigarette brands (Camel and Marlboro).
—Preschools in Augusta and Atlanta, Ga.
—A convenience sample of 229 children attending preschool.
—The children demonstrated high rates of logo recognition. When analyzed by product category, the level of recognition of cigarette logos was intermediate between children's and adult products. The recognition rates of The Disney Channel logo and Old Joe (the cartoon character promoting Camel cigarettes) were highest in their respective product categories. Recognition rates increased with age. Approximately 30% of 3-year-old children correctly matched Old Joe with a picture of a cigarette compared with 91.3% of 6-year-old children.
—Very young children see, understand, and remember advertising. Given the serious health consequences of smoking, the exposure of children to environmental tobacco advertising may represent an important health risk and should be studied further.(JAMA. 1991;266:3145-3148)