Interpretations of smoking in film by older teenagers

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Окленд, Auckland, New Zealand
Social Science & Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.89). 04/2003; 56(5):1023-32. DOI: 10.1016/S0277-9536(02)00096-5
Source: PubMed


Research testifies that images of tobacco use in popular films are highly pervasive and typically glamorised. There are concerns that these images may promote motivations to smoke in adolescents, but little is known about how these images are interpreted by members of this age group. A qualitative study was conducted to explore how older teenagers interpret and decode smoking imagery in film. This study builds on earlier work with a younger age group (12 and 13 years) to explore how various interpretations of smoking imagery shape and support common understandings about smoking among older teenagers. Data were collected through focus groups. Eighty-eight 16 and 17 year old students were interviewed at school. Participants discussed their recollections of and responses to recently viewed films. Older teens were receptive to smoking imagery when it was used in a credible manner to portray an emotional state, sub-culture affiliation, and lifestyle. Experience as a smoker appeared to inflate the credibility of realistic smoking images, particularly those presented in gritty realism/drama film. Older teens perceived realistic images, as opposed to stereotypical images, as a salient reference to their own lives. Stereotypical images were also readily recalled and appeared to perform an important role in supporting misconceptions about smoking and contributing to popular ideologies about tobacco use. Stereotypical images presented in comedy and action genre also serve to present paradoxical and contradictory messages about tobacco use. In particular, participants recalled tobacco use in film as associated with stress and anxiety, drug use, and seduction. Film images of tobacco use in specific contexts appear to hold specific and significant meanings for older teens. Realistic images offered salient representations of the perceived reality of smoking for this group. Pervasive and credible smoking scenes in film may offer support and reassurance to older teens who currently smoke or hold ambivalent views about smoking. Consistent with younger adolescents, older teens presented a predominantly nonchalant response to smoking imagery in film, which is a powerful indicator of the pervasiveness and acceptability of smoking in general. In contrast with younger adolescent, older teens tend to draw upon their own experience with tobacco use when interpreting smoking images in film.

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Available from: Judith Mccool, Oct 30, 2014
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    • "Différents travaux font enfin état de la possibilité d'une influence du placement sur le comportement du spectateur consommateur (Dalton et al., 2003 ; McCool, Cameron et Petrie, 2003 ; McKee et Pardun, 1998). "
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    • "Specifically, younger (12–13 years) and older teens (16– 17 years) accepted smoking images as a reflection of everyday life, perceived smoking as a common and acceptable way of relieving stress, expressed a nonchalant attitude about the presence of smoking in movies and real life, and while acknowledging health risks associated with smoking, still found smoking desirable [26] [27] [28]. The prevalence of adult smoking in films (versus adolescent smoking) seemed to reinforce stereotypes of adult behavior, which suggested that adolescents do not smoke to look like other adolescents; they smoke to look like adults [26] [27]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the tobacco industry's voluntary restrictions and its agreement with the state attorneys general prohibiting direct and indirect cigarette marketing to youth and paid product placement, tobacco use remains prevalent in movies. Extensive research provides strong and consistent evidence that smoking in the movies promotes smoking. This article summarizes the evidence on the nature and effect of smoking in the movies on adolescents (and others) and proposes several solutions to reduce adolescent exposure to movie smoking and subsequent smoking.
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    • "Adolescent perceptions of smoking on-screen are important to the translation of smoking viewing to smoking behaviour. Focus group research with 165 New Zealand adolescents indicates that on-screen smoking reinforced inaccurate perceptions of smoking as ubiquitous, normal, and acceptable.[21,22] A cross-sectional survey of over 3000 New Zealand students (age 12–17) indicated that image based associations (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: Smoking in film is a risk factor for smoking uptake in adolescence. This study aimed to quantify exposure to smoking in film received by New Zealand audiences, and evaluate potential interventions to reduce the quantity and impact of this exposure. The ten highest-grossing films in New Zealand for 2003 were each analysed independently by two viewers for smoking, smoking references and related imagery. Potential interventions were explored by reviewing relevant New Zealand legislation, and scientific literature. Seven of the ten films contained at least one tobacco reference, similar to larger film samples. The majority of the 38 tobacco references involved characters smoking, most of whom were male. Smoking was associated with positive character traits, notably rebellion (which may appeal to adolescents). There appeared to be a low threshold for including smoking in film. Legislative or censorship approaches to smoking in film are currently unlikely to succeed. Anti-smoking advertising before films has promise, but experimental research is required to demonstrate cost effectiveness. Smoking in film warrants concern from public health advocates. In New Zealand, pre-film anti-smoking advertising appears to be the most promising immediate policy response.
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