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Setting the agenda for a healthy retail environment: content analysis of US newspaper coverage of tobacco control policies affecting the point of sale, 2007–2014
  1. Allison E Myers1,
  2. Brian G Southwell1,2,
  3. Kurt M Ribisl1,3,
  4. Sarah Moreland-Russell4,
  5. Leslie A Lytle1
  1. 1Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
  3. 3Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  4. 4Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  1. Correspondence to Allison E Myers, Department of Health Behavior, UNC-Chapel Hill, 135 Dauer Drive, 302 Rosenau Hall, CB #7440, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7440, USA; aemyers{at}live.unc.edu

Abstract

Background Tobacco control policies affecting the point of sale (POS) are an emerging intervention, yet POS-related news media content has not been studied.

Purpose We describe news coverage of POS tobacco control efforts and assess relationships between article characteristics, including policy domains, frames, sources, localisation and evidence present, and slant towards tobacco control efforts.

Methods High circulation state (n=268) and national (n=5) newspapers comprised the sampling frame. We retrieved 917 relevant POS-focused articles in newspapers from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2014. 5 raters screened and coded articles, 10% of articles were double coded, and mean inter-rater reliability (IRR) was 0.74.

Results POS coverage emphasised tobacco retailer licensing (49.1% of articles) and the most common frame present was regulation (71.3%). Government officials (52.3%), followed by tobacco retailers (39.6%), were the most frequent sources. Half of articles (51.3%) had a mixed, neutral or antitobacco control slant. Articles presenting a health frame, a greater number of protobacco control sources, and statistical evidence were significantly more likely to also have a protobacco control slant. Articles presenting a political/rights or regulation frame, a greater number of antitobacco control sources, or government, tobacco industry, tobacco retailers, or tobacco users as sources were significantly less likely to also have a protobacco control slant.

Conclusions Stories that feature procontrol sources, research evidence and a health frame also tend to support tobacco control objectives. Future research should investigate how to use data, stories and localisation to encourage a protobacco control slant, and should test relationships between content characteristics and policy progression.

  • Advocacy
  • Media
  • Public policy

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