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External Regulation Reduces Tobacco Exposure in Movies

Thursday, May 30, 2013 (Last Updated: 05/31/2013)

THURSDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), which limited tobacco brand placement after 1998, correlated with a substantial reduction in tobacco brand appearances and screen time, according to a study published online May 27 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Elaina Bergamini, from Dartmouth University in Hanover, N.H., and colleagues analyzed content of the top 100 box-office hits released in the United States from 1996 through 2009 (1,400 movies) to examine trends for alcohol and tobacco use in movies. Brand counts and seconds of screen time were compared for the pre-MSA period (from 1996 through 1999) and the post-MSA period (from 2000 through 2009).

The researchers found that there were 500 tobacco and 2,433 alcohol brand appearances. Tobacco brand appearances dropped exponentially by 7.0 percent each year after implementation of the MSA and then leveled off at 22 per year after 2006. There was also a decrease in tobacco screen time for youth- and adult-rated movies (42.3 and 85.4 percent, respectively) after the MSA. Little change was observed in alcohol brand appearances or overall alcohol screen time after the MSA. In youth-rated movies, alcohol brand appearances trended upwards, from 80 to 145 per year, representing an increase of 5.2 appearances each year.

"This study found dramatic declines in brand appearances for tobacco after such placements were prohibited by an externally monitored and enforced regulatory structure, even though such activity had already been prohibited in the self-regulatory structure a decade before," the authors write.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology

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