September 4th, 2006

Movie Trailers Expose Youth to Tobacco Abuse

HealthDay News

Even though tobacco advertising on television has been banned in the United States since 1971, many American children still see images of smoking in televised ads for movies, a new study finds.

The researchers analyzed all 216 movie ads (trailers) aired on U.S. television from August 2001 through July 2002, and found that 31 ads (14.4 percent) depicted tobacco use.

The researchers also studied television viewing data from Nielson Media Research, and concluded that 95 percent of American children aged 12 to 17 saw at least one movie trailer with tobacco use during the year-long study period, and 89 percent saw at least one of the trailers three or more times.

Over the course of the year, these movie trailers were seen 270 million times by children in this age group, or an average of about 111 times per youth.

“Trailers pair tobacco use with popular movie stars and edgy action shots. These images translate into positive images of tobacco that are conveyed to a broad audience, including a large population younger than 18 years,” the study authors wrote.

They suggested the public health officials urge the movie industry to stop using images of smoking in movie trailers and to pressure television stations to refuse to air movie trailers that depict tobacco use.

The study was published in the September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

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