New media and tobacco control

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Abstract

Objective

This paper reviews how the tobacco industry is promoting its products online and examines possible regulation models to limit exposure to this form of marketing. Opportunities to use new media to advance tobacco control are also discussed and future research possibilities are proposed.

Data sources

Published articles and grey literature reports were identified through searches of the electronic databases, PUBMED and Google Scholar using a combination of the following search terms: tobacco or smoking and new media, online media, social media, internet media, Web 2.0, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Results

A possible obstacle to fully realising the benefits of regulating tobacco marketing activities and effectively communicating tobacco control messages is the rapid evolution of the media landscape. New media also offer the tobacco industry a powerful and efficient channel for rapidly countering the denormalising strategies and policies of tobacco control. Evidence of tobacco promotion through online media is emerging, with YouTube being the most researched social media site in the tobacco control field.

Conclusions

The explosive rise in Internet use and the shift to these new media being driven by consumer generated content through social platforms may mean that fresh approaches to regulating tobacco industry marketing are needed.

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