Denormalising tobacco at a Danish music festival
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National Institute of Public Health, Denmark
The Danish Cancer Society, Denmark
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A192
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Background and challenges to implementation:
In Denmark, the tobacco advertising ban has exemptions, as e.g. a “neutral placement of tobacco” at point of sales is allowed. This loophole is utilized by the tobacco industry to promote tobacco at music festivals and similar arenas. It is a well-known and efficient strategy for the industry to encourage smoking uptake by children. Strøm is a Danish electronic music festival which each year attracts 15.000 people mainly aged 15-30 years old. Until recently like many other music festivals Strøm received cigarettes from tobacco companies free of charge for resale to the audience. In this setting festival artists, volunteers, staff and audience frequently were depicted smoking in social media posts and promotional material.

Intervention or response:
In 2014 Strøm initiated a partnership with The Danish Cancer Society and the Municipality of Copenhagen. The aim of the partnership was to end the promotion of tobacco at the festival and to start denormalising tobacco in the Danish music scene. One intervention aimed at reducing the visibility of tobacco by not accepting tobacco for resale at the festival and by development of a non-smoking code for promotional material, social media and by employees at the festival.

Results and lessons learnt:
With the code, tobacco is no longer sold at the festival. The code increased the awareness among the festival employees of how their visible smoking may influence adolescents and they were increasingly conscious of not smoking in the context of the festival.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
We found that it was feasible to run a music festival without the direct and indirect tobacco promotion. This awareness can be used to disseminate the no-tobacco code to other music festivals and cultural settings. The inside knowledge of the tobacco industry tactics can be an eye-opener in youth campaigns and help build support among the public and policy makers for a comprehensive advertising ban.

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