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Resonance as Mediator of Prime-Time Messages about Smoking
Unformatted Document Text:  Resonance as Mediator of Messages 4 Resonance as Mediator of Prime-Time Messages about Smoking On Sex and the City, the ever-fashionable Carrie lights up yet another cigarette with her gal pals as they cruise New York City’s trendiest bars. The sympathetic yet viciously violent Tony Soprano of The Sopranos chews on his cigar as his crew sends another unfortunate victim to sleep with the fishes. Chandler Bing, one of ABC’s Friends, struggles with his on-going yearning for one more cigarette. Although the Federal Trade Commission banned tobacco advertising from television in 1971, prime-time characters on some of the highest rated and most critically acclaimed programs continue to light up (Basil, 1997). Prior research documents that televisual portrayals of smoking tend to be pro-tobacco, with the majority of smoking characters in lead, high-status roles (Cruz & Wallack, 1986; Hazan & Glantz, 1995). Such media portrayals may contribute to young adult’s perceptions that smoking is normal, expected, and even attractive, a belief that has been found to be a strong predictor of smoking behavior (Botvin, Botvin, Baker, Dusenbury, & Goldberg, 1992). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adult smoking has declined in recent years, but the percentage of 18 to 24 year olds who smoke has increased (Emmons, Wechsler, Dowdall, & Abraham, 1998). In this age group, 26.8% of individuals smoke. Among college students, 28% are current smokers (smoked in the last 30 days) and 18% smoke daily (Emmons et al., 1998). Prior studies have tested the influence of anti-smoking public service announcements, advertisements, and stories in the context of newscasts. Scant research, however, has examined the influence of messages about smoking embedded in entertainment content (Danaher, Berhanovic, & Gerber, 1983; Dubren, 1977; Fishbein, Hall-Jamieson, Zimmer, con Haeften, & Nabi, 2002; Gruder, Warnecke, Jason, Flay, & Peterson, 1990; Siegel & Biener, 2000). Arguably, the context of the message produces different and perhaps more potent effects when presented as part of entertainment

Authors: Lauzen, Martha. and Dozier, David.
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Resonance as Mediator of Messages 4
Resonance as Mediator of Prime-Time Messages about Smoking
On Sex and the City, the ever-fashionable Carrie lights up yet another cigarette
with her gal pals as they cruise New York City’s trendiest bars. The sympathetic yet
viciously violent Tony Soprano of The Sopranos chews on his cigar as his crew sends
another unfortunate victim to sleep with the fishes. Chandler Bing, one of ABC’s
Friends, struggles with his on-going yearning for one more cigarette.
Although the Federal Trade Commission banned tobacco advertising from
television in 1971, prime-time characters on some of the highest rated and most critically
acclaimed programs continue to light up (Basil, 1997). Prior research documents that
televisual portrayals of smoking tend to be pro-tobacco, with the majority of smoking
characters in lead, high-status roles (Cruz & Wallack, 1986; Hazan & Glantz, 1995).
Such
media portrayals may contribute to young adult’s perceptions that smoking is normal,
expected, and even attractive, a belief that has been found to be a strong predictor of
smoking behavior (Botvin, Botvin, Baker, Dusenbury, & Goldberg, 1992).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adult smoking has
declined in recent years, but the percentage of 18 to 24 year olds who smoke has
increased (Emmons, Wechsler, Dowdall, & Abraham, 1998). In this age group, 26.8% of
individuals smoke. Among college students, 28% are current smokers (smoked in the last
30 days) and 18% smoke daily (Emmons et al., 1998).
Prior studies have tested the influence of anti-smoking public service
announcements, advertisements, and stories in the context of newscasts. Scant research,
however, has examined the influence of messages about smoking embedded in
entertainment content (Danaher, Berhanovic, & Gerber, 1983; Dubren, 1977; Fishbein,
Hall-Jamieson, Zimmer, con Haeften, & Nabi, 2002; Gruder, Warnecke, Jason, Flay, &
Peterson, 1990; Siegel & Biener, 2000). Arguably, the context of the message produces
different and perhaps more potent effects when presented as part of entertainment


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