4012.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - Board 1

Abstract #9333

A decade of smoking in movies: No evidence of change

Madeline A. Dalton, PhD1, James D. Sargent, MD1, Michael L. Beach, MD, PhD1, Jennifer J. Tickle, MS2, M. Bridget Ahrens, MPH1, and Todd F. Heatherton, PhD2. (1) Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Dr, Lebanon, NH 03756, 603-650-8327, Madeline.Dalton@Dartmouth.edu, (2) Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, 6207 Moore Hall, Hanover, NH 03755

Prior to 1990, the tobacco industry paid for product placement in movies. Threatened by Federal regulation, they voluntarily agreed to discontinue this practice. The purpose of this study was to describe tobacco use in movies and determine the impact of this voluntary agreement on smoking in movies. We conducted a content analysis of the top 25 box office hits per year, for years 1988 through 1997. The geometric mean number of tobacco occurrences per film was 8.4. Of these, 44% involved tobacco use by a major or minor character, 25% involved background tobacco use, and 31% involved a mention of tobacco or appearance tobacco-related products. The amount of time tobacco appeared on-screen varied widely, ranging from 0 to 36.5% of total movie time (GM=1.6%). Tobacco use was highest in R-rated movies (p<0.05) and lowest in G-rated movies (p<0.001), with no significant difference between PG and PG-13 movies. Dramas and westerns (N=55) had more tobacco use than all other genres except mysteries (p<0.008). Movies that were set between 1930 and 1989 were more likely to feature smoking (p=0.000), as were those with urban and US settings (p<0.05). Tobacco use was positively associated with alcohol use, sexual content and violence (p<0.05). The association with alcohol use remained significant even after controlling for movie rating (p=0.000). There was no difference in the amount of tobacco use by year of movie release. These findings indicate that tobacco use in movies is ubiquitous and has not declined with the elimination of direct payment for product placement.

Learning Objectives: During this session, faculty will discuss the ways in which tobacco is portrayed in movies and how this may influence smoking uptake among adolescents

Keywords: Tobacco, Media

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA