The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3137.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - 1:06 PM

Abstract #43431

Assessing and modifying adolescentsí exposure to movie smoking

James D. Sargent, MD, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Dr, Lebanon, NH NH, 603-650-8327,

Smoking, when depicted in movies, sends a powerful and enticing message to the adolescent viewer. Movie directors and actors use smoking to project character traits typically seen in tobacco advertising: toughness, wealth, romance, and sophistication. But movie smoking is not processed as advertising because it is seamlessly incorporated into the movie, limiting viewer skepticism regarding the message. In this presentation we will review the evidence linking movies with adolescent smoking, describe a way to measure exposure to movie smoking and examine factors that modify such exposure with data from a cross-sectional study of 4910 adolescents. Exposure to movie smoking was assessed by first counting occurrences of smoking in 601 popular contemporary movies. Next, we estimated exposure to these films by asking each respondent if he/she had seen a unique list of 50 film titles randomly selected from the larger pool. Based on the films adolescents reported seeing, we summed the number of movie tobacco occurrences they had viewed and divided that by the number of possible tobacco occurrences contained in the 50 movies. This proportion was multiplied by 5668 (the number of tobacco occurrences in the 601 movies) to estimate exposure to smoking in this sample of popular contemporary movies. On average, adolescents had seen 20% of the movie sample, from which they were exposed to 1160 movie smoking occurrences. Exposure increased by about 10% for each additional movie channel and for every 2 videos watched per week. Parent R-movie restrictions resulted in a 60% reduction in exposure.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Media

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
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.

Developing Measures of Exposure to Pro- and Anti-Tobacco Mass Media

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA