Analysis of tobacco related articles in English newspapers
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Alcohol and Drug Information Center (ADIC), Research & Evaluation Programme, Sri Lanka
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A88
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Direct Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATO) advertisements are banned on print media in Sri Lanka by National Tobacco and Alcohol Authority (NATA) Act. But, indirect advertisements that can influence the reader are still seen in print media.
Objective: To analyze indirect tobacco advertisements in English medium newspapers.

Four highly circulating daily newspapers published on weekdays and six Sunday newspapers were selected purposively. Study was conducted from April to November in 2014 and total newspapers surveyed were 1046. The number of articles analyzed was 2210 using a code book developed by an expert team. Major themes in the code book were promotion, prevention and policy related. Promotions: promote tobacco expressed by words, social belief, surrogate advertising, unfair privileges and if unintentionally promote them through prevention mode. Prevention: any article, picture or any content published that express positive message for prevention attempts. Policy: any article published about exist policy implementations of the country. Most of time we would able to find articles that is regarding policy cases and national policies such as Pictorial Health Warnings and NATA act.

Of the promoting articles, Ceylon Tobacco Company had the highest number of promotions (n=77, 58%). A number of articles had been written by famous individuals supporting and promoting the tobacco industry. Colors and symbols representing the industries and the product trademarks were used in the articles. Articles criticizing prevailing policies and regulations on Tobacco were also seen.

Tobacco industries are using various indirect strategies to promote their products through newspaper articles. Seasonal campaigns, articles by opinion leaders, politicians, famous individuals and writers are the commonly used strategies to promote industries views. National level policy amendments should be made to prevent indirect Tobacco advertisements in newspapers.

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