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Tob Control. 2017 Jan;26(1):105-108. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052400. Epub 2016 Jan 28.

Did limits on payments for tobacco placements in US movies affect how movies are made?

Author information

1
Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA.
2
Institute for Therapy and Health Research, Kiel, Germany.
3
Department of Pediatrics, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
4
Department of Pediatrics, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare how smoking was depicted in Hollywood movies before and after an intervention limiting paid product placement for cigarette brands.

DESIGN:

Correlational analysis.

SETTING/PARTICIPANTS:

Top box office hits released in the USA primarily between 1988 and 2011 (n=2134).

INTERVENTION:

The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), implemented in 1998.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

This study analyses trends for whether or not movies depicted smoking, and among movies with smoking, counts for character smoking scenes and average smoking scene duration.

RESULTS:

There was no detectable trend for any measure prior to the MSA. In 1999, 79% of movies contained smoking, and movies with smoking contained 8 scenes of character smoking, with the average duration of a character smoking scene being 81 s. After the MSA, there were significant negative post-MSA changes (p<0.05) for linear trends in proportion of movies with any smoking (which declined to 41% by 2011) and, in movies with smoking, counts of character smoking scenes (which declined to 4 by 2011). Between 1999 and 2000, there was an immediate and dramatic drop in average length of a character smoking scene, which decreased to 19 s, and remained there for the duration of the study. The probability that the drop of -62.5 (95% CI -55.1 to -70.0) seconds was due to chance was p<10-16.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study's correlational data suggest that restricting payments for tobacco product placement coincided with profound changes in the duration of smoking depictions in movies.

KEYWORDS:

Media; Public policy; Tobacco industry

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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