Global reporting of waterpipe tobacco policy in online news articles in 2015: a cross-sectional analysis
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American University of Beirut, Faculty of Health Sciences, Lebanon
Imperial College London, Public Health Policy Evaluation Unit, United Kingdom
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A839
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Policy discussions are often articulated through the news media. The aim of this study is to understand how waterpipe tobacco policy is narrated and developed over time in online news media.

We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of online news articles published in the year 2015. We used the online news content retriever service 'Google Alerts' to receive weekly emails on any news article that contained 'waterpipe' or its synonyms in the title or body of English news articles. We coded text into one of the following themes: taxation, smoke-free law, regulation of content and emissions, health warning labels, bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship, cessation programs, restriction of sale to minors, zoning or licensing, prohibition, and other waterpipe-specific policy.

We included 567 news articles from 33 countries. We elicited 14 themes, which we counted 1309 times (mean 2.3 themes per article). The five most common themes were licensing or zoning (24.7%), Smoke-free law (20.9%), prohibition (13.4%), waterpipe-specific policy (9.4%), and sales to minors (7.0%). We report on the dominant policy narratives in six countries: Canada, India, Pakistan, the UAE, UK, and the US.

Geographical variation in policy narratives can be a useful tool for future policy dialogue around waterpipe tobacco control and prevention.

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