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J Health Commun. 2011 Jul;16(6):566-82. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.551990. Epub 2011 May 24.

Alcohol and tobacco advertising in black and general audience newspapers: targeting with message cues?

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Department of Communication, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506, USA.


This study content analyzed 928 tobacco- and alcohol-related advertisements from a 3-year national sample of Black (n = 24) and general audience (n = 11) newspapers from 24 U.S. cities. The authors compared the frequency of tobacco and alcohol product and control advertising in Black versus general audience newspapers, as well as the presence of 5 message cues: model ethnicity, presence of health official, referral to resources, personal behavior mobilization, and localization. Results within health issues show that Black newspapers had more alcohol product advertising than did general audience newspapers. In contrast, Black newspapers had less alcohol and tobacco control advertising than general audience newspapers. Black newspapers' tobacco/alcohol product advertisements had more African American models than did general audience newspapers' tobacco/alcohol advertising, whereas general audience newspapers' tobacco control advertisements were significantly more likely to feature public health officials than ads in Black newspapers. Fewer message cues such as personal behavior mobilization, referral to resources, and localization were present in Black versus general audience newspapers. Results suggest that Black newspapers may have greater dependency than do general audience newspapers on these risk-related advertisements that target African American consumers. Given the current advertising environment, public health initiatives are needed to counter unhealthy alcohol product advertising messages that target vulnerable populations.

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