February 9, 2011 - As lawmakers push to eliminate smoking in public, there’s still one place many people are allowed to light up with seemingly no consequences: TV. Tobacco use on television should be a cause for concern, particularly because of the high volume of television viewing among younger audiences.
A study published yesterday in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine finds substantial depictions of tobacco use in television programs with high teen viewership. The study aimed to quantify teen exposure to smoking on television, given the powerful role tobacco images in media play in influencing kids to smoke.
PAPER: Depictions of Tobacco Use in 2007 Broadcast Television Programming Popular Among US Youth, Jennifer Cullen, PhD, MPH; Natasha A. Sokol, BA; Deepika Slawek, MPH; Jane A. Allen, MPH; Donna Vallone, PhD, MPH; Cheryl Healton, DrPH, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(2):147-151, ABSTRACT..
Researchers examined more than 70 episodes of prime-time shows like Family Guy and Gossip Girl and found 40 percent of them contained at least one instance of smoking, mostly of cigarettes. Fox lead the networks with 44 percent, followed by CBS with 41 percent.
All these episodes were rated TV-PG and TV-14 (the more stringent rating). Surprisingly, more TV-PG episodes showed smoking (50 percent) than ones rated TV-14 (26 percent).
The study was conducted by Legacy, a public interest group dedicated to reducing tobacco use by people of all ages.
Movies - tobacco use.. Studios reached an agreement to place anti-smoking ads on new movie DVDs (rated G, PG or PG-13)..
References: Smoking shown a lot in TV shows popular with teens, Posted by Pete Basofin, Reports from the Bee's investigative team, 2/8/2011; Think Kids' Shows Are Tobacco-Free? Think Again
Study finds smoking still featured on shows aimed at kids and teens, Sara Huffman, ConsumerAffairs.com, 2/8/2011; Smoking prevalent on TV shows that are most popular with teens by Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times, 2/8/2011.