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The Role of Reported Tobacco-specific Media Exposure on Adult Attitudes toward Proposed Policies to Limit the Portrayal of Smoking in Movies
  1. Kelly D. Blake1,*,
  2. K. Viswanath1,
  3. Robert J. Blendon2,
  4. Donna Vallone3
  1. 1 Harvard School of Public Health and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, United States;
  2. 2 Harvard School of Public Health, United States;
  3. 3 American Legacy Foundation, United States
  1. Correspondence to: Kelly D Blake, Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 44 Binney Street, MS LW703, Boston, 02115, United States; kellyblake{at}


Objective: To assess the relative, independent contribution of reported tobacco-specific media exposure (pro-tobacco advertising, anti-tobacco advertising, and news coverage of tobacco issues) to U.S. adults' support for policy efforts that aim to regulate the portrayal of smoking in movies.

Methods: Using the American Legacy Foundation's 2003 American Smoking and Health Survey (ASHES-2), multivariable logistic regression was used to model the predicted probability that U.S. adults support movie-specific tobacco control policies, by reported exposure to tobacco-specific media messages, controlling for: smoking status, education, income, race/ethnicity, age, sex, knowledge of the negative effects of tobacco, and state.

Results: Across most outcome variables under study, findings reveal that reported exposure to tobacco-specific media messages is associated with adult attitudes toward movie-specific policy measures. Most reported exposure to tobacco information in the media (with the exception of pro-tobacco advertising on the Internet) contributes independently to the prediction of adult support for movie-specific policies. The direction of effect follows an expected pattern, with reported exposure to anti-tobacco advertising and news coverage of tobacco predicting supportive attitudes toward movie policies, and reported exposure to pro-tobacco advertising lessening support for some movie policies, though the medium of delivery makes a difference.

Conclusion: Media campaigns to prevent tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke have had value beyond the intended impact of single-issue campaigns; reported exposure to anti-tobacco campaigns and public dialogue about the dangers of tobacco seem also to be associated with shaping perceptions of the social world related to norms about tobacco, and ideas about regulating the portrayal of smoking in movies.

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