- Tobacco companies frequently portrayed alcohol in their lifestyle magazines.
- More alcohol references appeared in male-oriented magazines than female-oriented magazines.
- Frequent depictions of smoking and drinking may reinforce co-use norms.
- Interventions should reduce the social acceptability of tobacco and alcohol co-use.
Advertising influences people’s health behaviors. Tobacco companies have linked tobacco and alcohol in their marketing activities. We examined how depictions of alcohol were placed in lifestyle magazines produced by tobacco companies, and if these references differed depending on the magazine’s orientation, if it was towards men, women, or if it was unisex.
Content analysis of 6 different tobacco industry lifestyle magazines (73 issues), including 73 magazine covers, 1558 articles, 444 tobacco ads, and 695 non-tobacco ads.
14 of 73 (19%) magazine covers featured alcohol; 581 of 1558 (37%) magazine articles mentioned alcohol; 119 of 444 (27%) tobacco ads showed alcohol images; and 57 of 695 (8%) non-tobacco ads portrayed alcohol. Male-oriented magazines (Unlimited, CML, and Real Edge) contained the most alcohol references, and the references were mainly beer, mixed drinks, and liquor or spirits. Female-oriented magazines (All Woman and Flair) contained the fewest alcohol references, and wine and mixed drinks were the major types of alcoholic beverage portrayed. For the unisex magazine (P.S.), the frequency of alcohol references fell between the male- and female-oriented magazines, and the magazine most frequently mentioned mixed drinks.
Frequent depictions of smoking and drinking in tobacco industry lifestyle magazines might have reinforced norms about paired use of tobacco and alcohol among young adults. The pairing of tobacco and alcohol may particularly target young men. Anti-tobacco interventions need to address the co-use of tobacco and alcohol, change the social acceptability of smoking in social settings, and tailor anti-tobacco messaging by gender.
You can read the full research article here (pdf) and it’s an interesting piece of research.