This study provides the first longitudinal comparison of the frequency and content characteristics of tobacco ads that appeared along thoroughfares running through four types of Los Angeles ethnic neighborhoods. Tobacco ad density (tobacco billboards per mile), concentration (proportion of billboards with tobacco content), and content were compared from 1990 to 1994 across four neighborhoods at multiple time points. Compared with White neighborhood thoroughfares, African American and Hispanic neighborhoods contained greater tobacco ad density, and all minority neighborhoods contained greater tobacco ad concentration along the roadsides. Initial differences in tobacco ad frequency decreased significantly over time. However, the age, race, and gender of billboard characters remained different among the different ethnic neighborhood thoroughfares, with greater ethnicity-specific content in African American neighborhood thoroughfares than in other neighborhood thoroughfares. These data are consistent with the assertion that tobacco companies target ethnic minorities with higher rates of advertising and ethnically tailored campaigns. This may be used in order to expand the total market of minority consumers.
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