Teen smokers and adult smokers agree that the Marlboro brand is their cigarette of choice, and anti-smoking advocates say advertising is the reason why, the Associated Press reported Feb. 12.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that three brands of cigarettes — Marlboro, Newport and Camel — were preferred by 81 percent of middle- and high-school students. Survey results show that 52 percent of established smokers in high-school chose Marlboro, while 21 percent chose Newport and 13 percent preferred Camel; the middle school percentages were 43, 26 and 9 percent, respectively.

The CDC analyzed data from the 2004 and 2006 National Youth Tobacco Survey of nearly 5 million 12- to 17-year-olds, drawing on survey responses from 54,301 regular smokers. The conclusions parallel those in the 2007 National Study on Drug Use and Health, which found the same three brands to be the most popular smoked by U.S. adults.

Despite evidence that smoking rates are on the decline among teenagers, anti-smoking advocates said that cigarette advertising that ostensibly targets adults has influenced the teenage audience. “Cigarettes are still the most heavily advertised drug in America,” said Victor Strasburger, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

David Sutton of the Altria Group, which owns Philip Morris USA and the Marlboro brand, said that adult influence contributes more significantly to teen smoking than advertising, while David Howard, a spokesman for Camel manufacturer R.J. Reynolds, said that the brand’s third-place ranking in the survey is evidence that the company is successfully avoiding marketing to young people.