Cancer Research UK Centre for Tobacco Control Research 2015
(Funded by Cancer Research UK)
The Youth Tobacco Policy Survey (YTPS) is a long running repeat cross-sectional survey of 11 to 16 year olds across the UK. Since its initiation in 1999, there have been significant advances in tobacco control including the introduction of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 (2003-2005), a ban on smoking in public places (2006/2007), an increase in the minimum age of purchase to 18 (2007), the inclusion of pictorial warnings on packs (2008) and the implementation of a point-of-sale display ban, first in large stores and then all tobacco selling retailers (2012-2015). From May 2017, the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations and new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) transformed the appearance of packs of cigarettes and rolling tobacco.
The YTPS aims to monitor young people’s response to tobacco control policies and any form of tobacco marketing, as well as their smoking knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.
This research involves repeat cross-sectional surveys administered to adolescents in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Measures are taken approximately every two years and the first two surveys, conducted in 1999 and 2002 provide baseline measures, collected prior to the new regulations on tobacco advertising and promotions. To date, eight waves of the YTPS have been conducted (W1 – 1999/2000; W2 – 2002; W3 – 2004; W4 – 2006; W5 – 2008; W6 – 2011; W7 – 2014; W8 – 2016) to monitor youth response to these policies.
Key measures within the surveys include, awareness of a range of forms of tobacco marketing, awareness of cigarette brands, perceptions of prevalence of smoking, smoking behaviour and smoking intentions. From 2011, measures have been included on response to tobacco packaging, to enhance understanding of the influence of packaging and provide baseline measures against which response to standardised packaging can be assessed. In 2014, the YTPS was extended to also include measures on e-cigarettes.
A second strand to the research is an audit of the industry's marketing activities which takes place on an ongoing basis. It aims to identify and detail any innovations or changes in tobacco industry marketing to both consumers and retailers.