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August 25th, 2011:

Smoking in movies and adolescent smoking: cross-cultural study in six European countries

Published Online First 25 August 2011


Aim To investigate whether the association between exposure to smoking in movies and smoking among youth is independent of cultural context.

Method Cross-sectional survey of 16 551 pupils recruited in Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Scotland with a mean age of 13.4 years (SD=1.18) and an equal gender distribution. School-based surveys were conducted between November 2009 and June 2010. Using previously validated methods, exposure to movie smoking was estimated from the 250 top-grossing movies of each country (years 2004–2009) and related to ever smoking.

Results Overall, 29% of the sample had tried smoking. The sample quartile (Q) of movie smoking exposure was significantly associated with the prevalence of ever smoking: 14% of adolescents in Q1 had tried smoking, 21% in Q2, 29% in Q3 and 36% in Q4. After controlling for age, gender, family affluence, school performance, television screen time, number of movies seen, sensation seeking and rebelliousness and smoking within the social environment (peers, parents and siblings), the adjusted ORs for having tried smoking in the entire sample were 1.3 (95% CI 1.1 to 1.5) for adolescents in Q2, 1.6 (95% CI 1.4 to 1.9) for Q3 and 1.7 (95% CI 1.4 to 2.0) for Q4 compared with Q1. The adjusted relationship between ever smoking and higher movie smoking exposure levels was significant in all countries with a non-linear association in Italy and Poland.

Conclusions The link between smoking in movies and adolescent smoking is robust and transcends different cultural contexts. Limiting young people’s exposure to movie smoking could have important public health implications.

Download PDF : Thorax online first

Lowest smoking rate since records began

South China Morning Post – 25 August 2011

Hong Kong’s fight against tobacco reached a milestone, as the city saw its lowest smoking rate since records began 30 years ago.

Only 11.1 per cent of people aged 15 or older were daily smokers last year – down from 12 per cent in 2009 and 11.8 in 2008. Some 19.9 per cent of men smoked, the first time the rate had gone below 20 per cent, said Dr Raymond Ho Lei-ming, Tobacco Control Office head. The rate among women was 3 per cent.

“We are one step closer to having a single-digit smoking rate,” he said.

The city’s latest smoking rate is one of the world’s lowest.

In Asia-Pacific, the next best rate is in Singapore, where 14 per cent of people smoke.

Hong Kong’s figures were released yesterday as a part of the Census and Statistics Department’s “thematic household survey”, conducted from October to December last year.

But teenage smoking increased, with 2.5 per cent of those aged 15 to 19 smoking every day, up from 1.8 per cent the previous year.

Ho said that as the household survey was done before the latest tobacco tax increase of 41.5 per cent in February, it could not be taken as suggesting the tax rise had failed to curb young smokers. “If we view the general trend in the past decade, teenage smoking is slowing – from 4.5 per cent in 2000 to 2.4 in 2008,” he said. The office would put more focus on helping the young to quit, he said.

Smoking rate hits historic low level

China Daily – 25 Aug 2011

Smoking rate in Hong Kong hit a historic low of 11.1 percent in 2010, the Tobacco Control Office of the Department of Health said on Wednesday, reporting that smokers accounted for only 11.1 percent of the population in 2010, despite a slight increase in smoking among youngsters aged 15 to 19.

About 675,000 persons in the city, age 15 or above, were smokers, said Raymond Ho Lei-ming, head of the office.

The figure is based on a survey released by the Census and Statistics Department earlier on Wednesday.

The rate is the lowest recorded since 1982, Ho said.

There had been a general downward trend in smoking over the past 30 years, he said.

The survey also showed the smoking rate among men had dropped below 20 percent, to 19.9 percent, for the first time.

The average daily cigarette consumption also declined, falling from 13.9 cigarettes a day in 2009 to 13.4 in the latest survey, Ho said.

Still, the office voiced concern for a slight increase in smoking among young people aged 15 to 19, which rose from 1.8 percent in 2009 to 2.5 percent in 2010.

Ho said he cannot explain the reason, but he noted the two surveys in 2009 and 2010 used different methodologies, which may have affected results.

Chairman of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health Lisa Lau Man-man called the record-low number “inspiring”, saying it proved the efficacy of the smoking control measures adopted by the government.

Asked to comment on the increase in tobacco tax and the expansion of no-smoking zones across the city, Ho said it is still “too soon to say” about the effects.

There does not have to be any immediate effect, while more “noticeable” effects may come in the next few years, he said.

Nonetheless, Ho and Lau said more measures should be taken to bring the smoking rate even lower.

Ho suggested Hong Kong introduce plain cigarette packaging similar to what has been done in Australia, where cigarettes are required to be sold in the same monotonous, logo-free packages, with brand names printed in the same plain typeface.

Lau said she believes venue managers should be made liable if they allow customers to violate smoking bans in their places of business.

She also called for increasing tobacco tax on a regular basis.

Lau said the city’s goal is to cut the smoking rate to a single-digit figure “in near future”, but she did not specify a timetable.

Only very few regions in the world have achieved such a target, Ho said.

China Daily

ACT to ban smoking in cars with kids Australia

The ACT Government is moving to ban people from smoking in cars when children are passengers.

It will introduce legislation into the Legislative Assembly today that will allow police to issue a $250 on-the-spot fine to adults caught smoking in cars with children around.

The penalty will be separate to other traffic infringements, so people cannot lose their licence if they fail to pay the fine.

Most other Australian jurisdictions have similar laws.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says it will send a clear message that smoking is a danger to children’s health.

“This is about behaviour change, it’s not about wanting to see people get caught under this legislation,” she said.

“We’re also going to delay the commencement of it once it passes the Assembly, for six months, to make sure that we’ve got time to educate drivers about the new offence.

Ms Gallagher says police initially expressed some concerns about enforcing public health laws, but that has been worked through.

“I don’t think it was feasible either to have public health officials out pulling people over in cars because they don’t have the powers to do that either,” she said.

“We’ve reached a healthy compromise and we don’t expect there will be additional cost because we don’t expect that police will pursue people just for smoking.”

Anti-smoking lobby groups have praised the proposed changes.

Quit executive director Fiona Sharkie says tobacco smoke poses an enormous health risk to children.

“The dangers of second hand smoke are well documented and the harms that second hand smoking or smoking near children at all, are really devastating,” she said.

“In a confined area like a car it’s really important people are not smoking around anyone in the car, but particularly young children.

“It’s an enormous health risk particularly in respiratory illnesses and also can be with glue ear. We’re talking about young babies and the high rates of SIDS from smoking households.”

Topics: smokingstates-and-territoriescanberra-2600act