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Changes in the news representation of smokers and tobacco-related media advocacy from 1995 to 2005 in Australia


McLeod, K and Wakefield, M and Chapman, S and Clegg Smith, K and Durkin, S, Changes in the news representation of smokers and tobacco-related media advocacy from 1995 to 2005 in Australia, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 63, (3) pp. 215-221. ISSN 0143-005X (2009) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright BMJ 2009

DOI: doi:10.1136/jech.2007.072587


Background: This study aims to show how smokers were represented in smoking-related news articles, editorials, letters and columns in a major Australian newspaper over an 11-year period from January 1995 to December 2005. Methods: Qualitative content analysis was conducted on a sample of 618 articles to identify 21 representational categories (RCs) of the smoker. Articles were also examined for statements that lent organisational support to either tobacco control or the promotion of tobacco. Results: The construction of the smoker as a ‘‘regulated citizen’’ due to being subjected to tobacco policy was the most prevalent RC, occurring in 43.4% of articles. Of the 13 most prevalent RCs, eight were constructions of the smoker that lent support to tobacco control outcomes, two were supportive of the promotion of tobacco, and three could be used by both parties. 30.6% of articles contained at least one statement from a tobacco control advocacy source, compared with only 13.6% of articles having a statement towards the promotion of tobacco. Conclusion: These results indicate that constructions of the smoker that support tobacco control have dominated smoking-related discourse in this Australian newspaper and that representations favouring a tobacco industry viewpoint appeared less often. However, the pro-tobacco representations of smokers in reports relating to legal issues highlight an area of media discourse in which tobacco control advocates should remain vigilant.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Smokers; Media; Advocacy; Tobacco Control
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociological methodology and research methods
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:McLeod, K (Dr Kim McLeod)
ID Code:88668
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2014-02-12
Last Modified:2015-10-01

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