Influence of celebrity endorsements and movies on tobacco use habit among Indian youth


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Stuti Bhargava1
1VSPM Dental College and Research Center

Abstract

Background

India houses, one of the largest, of both tobacco and entertainment industries in the world. Glamorized depiction and promotion of tobacco use in cinema and television was a very common occurrence and often cited as the reason for tobacco use initiation; until many of the recent restrictive bans came in to fore. However despite regulations; entertainment media in the forms of music, video clips, interactive gaming, social media and cinema still contain many cues to promote tobacco use. Many public figures also commercially endorse tobacco and its various preparations.

The objectives of the study were to study the influence of celebrity endorsements and movies on tobacco use among youth and if educational background of an individual contributes to his /her perception of tobacco use depicted in the media.

Method

800 Participants of both genders from Nagpur city in the age group of 16-22 years were interviewed using a pre validated questionnaire. Group I – 400 students who were pursuing higher education (beyond class X).Group II – 400 students who had discontinued education (beyond or before class X).

Results

The study explores the impact of tobacco use by celebrities (on and off screen), endorsements and product placements of tobacco preparations on the youth and if the level of education made a difference in the attitude and perception towards tobacco use. Detailed results of the study will be presented.

Conclusion

The study found a positive co-relation between celebrity tobacco use and youth perception of it and a negative relation between level of education and tobacco use.  Results of this study are intended to provide useful data for the evaluating of the impact of existing norms imposing restrictions on depiction of tobacco use and advertising through the mass media . Such gap analysis will help in refinig the existing policies and implementation of more effective regulations in future.