Online Program

A content analysis of tobacco use imagery in 40 years of rolling stone magazine

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Olivia A. Wackowski, PhD, MPH, School of Public Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
M. Jane Lewis, DrPH, MA, School of Public Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
Carianne Ragozzino, MPH, School of Public Health, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
Background: Although several studies have explored tobacco advertising in consumer magazines, few have examined such advertising in publications over long time periods. Fewer yet have studied publications' inclusion of incidental images of tobacco use (i.e., non-advertisement naturalistic portrayals of tobacco use) which may uniquely model tobacco use for readers. This presentation will present results from an analysis of tobacco imagery in over 40 years of Rolling Stone magazine, a popular youth-oriented music and culture magazine. Methods: We identified the number of tobacco advertisements and incidental images in 241 issues randomly selected from a complete collection of Rolling Stone magazines from 1967-2007. We content-analyzed over 900 resulting ads/images identified to describe and compare their characteristics. Results: Tobacco ads and incidental images were found in 68% and 60% of issues, respectively, with the volume of tobacco ads changing more over time than incidental imagery. Incidental tobacco images more frequently portrayed active use of tobacco (90.2%) than tobacco ads (55.0%) and frequently portrayed celebrity tobacco use (74.3%). Although cigarettes products were most frequently promoted in tobacco ads (namely, for Camel and Marlboro products), the more recent growth in smokeless tobacco ads in Rolling Stone issues since 2007 will also be discussed. Conclusions: Young readers have consistently been exposed over time to tobacco imagery in a publication that aims to define for people what is current, interesting and “cool”. Even with fewer tobacco ads present in more recent years, naturalistic portrayals found in incidental images may work to reinforce perceptions about tobacco social norms.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe trends in the frequency and characteristics of tobacco imagery in Rolling Stone magazine over time

Keyword(s): Media, Tobacco Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Olivia Wackowski, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor at the UMDNJ School of Public Health. She has previously delivered presentations and published papers related to tobacco marketing and using content analysis methodology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.