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Video games and the next tobacco frontier: smoking in the Starcraft universe
  1. Tonatiuh Barrientos-Gutierrez1,2,
  2. Inti Barrientos-Gutierrez1,
  3. James Thrasher1,3
  1. 1Center for Population Health Research, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico City, Mexico
  2. 2Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  3. 3Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tonatiuh Barrientos-Gutierrez, Center for Population Health Research, National Institute of Public Health, 7a. Cerr. Fray Pedro de Gante #50, Col. Seccion XVI, Del. Tlalpan, Mexico City, 14000, Mexico; tbarrientos{at}

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Video games provide rich, interactive environments suitable for tobacco promotion.1 ,2 The WHO-Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) recommends comprehensive bans on ‘…all forms of commercial communication…with the aim, effect or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use.’ WHO-FCTC implementation guidelines cover entertainment media,3 ,4 yet surprisingly little is known about the importance of video games for promoting tobacco use.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, produced by Activision Blizzard, Inc., Santa Monica, California, USA, was the most popular PC military game of 2010, selling 3 million copies worldwide in the first month.5 The game presents 29 battles between humans and aliens, separated by brief scenes or cinematic ‘shorts’, which build a cohesive story, give gamers a pause and represent a reward for …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.