Description (provided by applicant):
Background--The average child spends as much time viewing movies and
television as he spends in school. Tobacco use is ubiquitous in movies, yet
its impact on adolescent smoking has not been studied before. We hypothesize
that exposure to tobacco use in movies is a causal element in the initiation
of adolescent smoking.
Preliminary Work-- Our 4-year study resulted in a content analysis measuring
the amount and context of tobacco use in over 600 popular contemporary movies.
We found tobacco depictions in 95% of the movies and brand appearances in 28%.
We linked these data with responses from a cross-sectional study of over 5000
5% 8_ grade students. In a multivariate analysis, adolescent exposure to
tobacco use in movies was associated with adolescent smoking and, among never
smokers, it was associated with attitudes that predict future smoking.
Specific Aims--The goal of this application is to better understand the
relationship between viewing tobacco use in movies and adolescent smoking. To
accomplish this, we plan to continue the content analysis of popular
contemporary films through the year 2005 and conduct a two-year longitudinal
telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 3000 adolescents.
This survey will enable us to describe adolescents' exposure to tobacco use in
contemporary films over time and to determine if this exposure predicts
Methods--Adolescents will be surveyed semiannually about their smoking status,
exposure to a sample of recently released popular movies, and a number of
other factors related to adolescent smoking. Each survey will contain a unique
subset of movies, randomly selected from top box-office hits and video rentals
released within six months prior to the survey. The primary outcome will be
the transition from never smoker to experimenter. Secondary analyses will be
conducted to examine whether exposure to movie tobacco use influences
a t titudes among never smokers and influences experimenters to become
established smokers. We will also evaluate differences in movie exposure among
whites, African Americans, and Latinos.
Significance-- This is the first prospective study to evaluate the public
health implications of depicting tobacco use in movies. Because our study
involves a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents, data from
this survey will enable us to determine the number of cases of youth smoking
in the United States that are attributable to exposure to tobacco use in
popular, contemporary movies.
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