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Tobacco advertising and press coverage of smoking and health in 10 years of Argentinean newspapers

  • Sandra Braun
  • Raul Mejia
  • Joaquín Barnoya
  • Steven E. Gregorich
  • Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable


Objective: To describe the extent and content of tobacco-related images, advertising and articles published in the largest Argentinean newspapers before and after a voluntary advertising ban implemented in 2001.

Methods: Issues from four months of each year of the four main national newspapers were examined from 1995 to 2004. We recorded the number of tobacco images (advertisement or not), tobacco-focused articles, space used, and placement within the newspaper. Regression analyses evaluated time trends.

Results: We identified 1800 images and articles from 4828 different issues. Non-advertisement images were the most frequent (71.2%), followed by articles (20%) and advertisement images (8.8%). Advertisements only appeared in the two best selling newspapers with a majority (57%) in the Sunday magazine and 21% in the sports sections. Non-advertisement images were published in the sports and entertainment sections (55%) and showed a public figure in 88%. Of 336 articles, 39% focused on health topics and 55% emphasized the negative effects of tobacco on health. Regression models showed that prior to 2001 there were significant time-related decreases in ad images and articles and significant increases in non-ad images. The trend of each outcome changed direction beginning in 2001 and the magnitude of the change in trend was significant for ad images and non-ad images. The number of non-ad images dropped significantly in 2001 from a model-predicted value of 178 per year to 103 non-ad images and remained constant thereafter.

Conclusions: Tobacco images exceeded information about tobacco hazards in Argentinean newspapers over this period. Advertisement increased from 2001 to 2005, following the voluntary advertisements ban. Partial advertisement bans are ineffective and a total ban is imperative.

Published on Sep 1, 2011