Considerable emphasis has been placed on the importance of tobacco imagery in the movies as one of the “drivers” of smoking among young people. Findings are presented from a content analysis of 98 hours of prime-time programming on New Zealand television 2004, identifying 152 scenes with tobacco imagery, and selected characteristics of those scenes. About one in four programmes contained tobacco imagery, most of which might be regarded as “neutral or positive”. This amounted to about two scenes containing such imagery for every hour of programming. A comparison with our earlier content analysis of programming in 2002 indicated little change in the level of tobacco imagery. The effect of this imagery in contributing to young viewers taking up smoking, and sustaining the addiction among those already smoking, deserves more research attention.
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