Thiruvananthapuram: A nationwide study has revealed that movies and television have a far greater impact on the use of tobacco than newspapers.
The research ‘Movies and TV Influence Tobacco Use in India’, which was led by K. Viswanath, is claimed to be the first nation-wide study to find a link between media and tobacco use among Indian adults.
The study analysed data from a nationally-representative survey of 123,768 women and 74,068 men from various sections of society.
“Newspapers do carry tobacco advertisements but are also likely to carry stories on the harmful effects of smoking. As a result, it is likely that the impact of newspapers on pro-tobacco beliefs and behaviours may be more muted,” says the study.
The objective of the study was to test the association of self-reported tobacco smoking and chewing with the frequency of use of four types of mass media — newspapers, radio, television, and movies.
“Exposure to newspaper coverage of tobacco issues has been shown to be related to reduced smoking rates and higher levels of disapproval of smoking behaviours,” says the survey results.
The Lancet, a leading medical journal, had recently published that nearly 600,000 Indians die of cancer every year with over seven in 10 deaths (71 percent) taking place in the 30-69 age group, the most productive period of a person’s life.