Depiction of tobacco in Indian mass media: A content analysis
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Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Corresponding author
Neema Joseph   

Department of Preventive & Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry-605006, India
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A244
Tobacco appearances in mass media have a significant impact on the population in the initiation and / cessation of tobacco use. A content analysis will help to determine how tobacco is depicted across mass media in a country.

To determine the proportion of tobacco-related appearances and the percentage of pro or anti-tobacco messages in the selected print, electronic, and internet-based mass media in India.

During the study period, top two daily newspapers in terms of readership in each category (English, Hindi, and Regional language), a topmost Television channel in terms of viewership in each category (General Entertainment, Hindi movies, News, Kids, Regional and English movies) and top five trending videos on YouTube in each category (Music, Gaming, News, Movies [trailers]) were reviewed daily. The appearances related to tobacco in newspapers were coded and analyzed using tally sheets. The appearances in television and YouTube were assessed continuously using five-minute and one-minute intervals, respectively.

Out of the 9373 advertisements reviewed in Newspapers, 31 (0.33%) [95%CI: 0.23-0.46] had tobacco-related incidents; all of which were pro-tobacco messages. Among the total 1512 intervals watched on Television, 274 (18.12%) [95%CI: 16. 24-20.12] intervals had a tobacco incident. There were 289 (19.1%) tobacco incidents on television, of which 267 (92.4%) were pro-tobacco messages. Among the total 900 videos watched on YouTube, 103 (11.44%) [95%CI: 9.49-13.65] videos had tobacco-related incidents. A total of 206 (22.9%) tobacco incidents were present on YouTube, out of which 98.5% were pro-tobacco messages.

Despite the national ban on pro-tobacco advertisements, the study documented a considerable extent of pro-tobacco depictions in Indian mass media. This signifies the need for active collaboration between media and tobacco control groups to monitor and thereby prevent the use of the tobacco industry to promote its products.

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