From Media Advocacy to Health Behaviors: Examining the Relationships between Mass Media Messages, Public Opinion, and Point-of-Sale Tobacco Control Policy Implementation in the United States Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Myers, Allison
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior
  • Policy interventions affecting the point of sale (POS) are an emerging focus within comprehensive tobacco control programming. Whereas mass media may play an important role in advancing policy implementation, these relationships have rarely been studied. The current studies examine the relationships between POS news media content, policy progression, and public support. In Manuscript One, we analyzed 917 POS-news articles, published between 01/01/2007 and 12/31/2014, and retrieved from a sample of 273 newspapers. The most common frame present was regulation (71.3%). Government officials (52.3%) and tobacco retailers (39.6%) were the most frequent sources. Articles presenting a health frame, a greater number of pro-tobacco control sources, and statistical evidence were significantly more likely to also have a pro-tobacco control slant. In Manuscript Two, we examined the extent to which newspaper content characteristics were associated with policy progression from 2012 to 2014. We found positive, significant bivariate relationships between the news content variables overall POS-related volume, and number of articles with any public health source, with both a local quote and local angle, and with a pro-tobacco control slant, and the dependent variable, Time 2 POS Index. Significant relationships between news content and policy progression did not hold in a multivariate regression model. In Manuscript Three, we investigated the relationship between news exposure and public support. We randomized an Internet-based convenience sample of 702 voting US adults to one of eight mock POS-related news articles, written to vary on (1) frame and (2) localization, and then measured their level of support for 22 POS policies. The mean POS support score was 12.88 (SD 6.67; Range 0 to 22). No significant main effects of frame or localization were apparent. Rather, we found significant differences in POS support by gender, age, tobacco use status, political affiliation and trust in government. Findings suggest that news content characteristics can shape article slant towards support for tobacco control objectives, and that newspaper coverage can be a marker of POS policy progression. Future work should continue to investigate the role of media in the policy change process.
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  • In Copyright
  • Lytle, Leslie
  • Southwell, Brian
  • Bowling, J. Michael
  • Ribisl, Kurt
  • Moreland-Russell, Sarah
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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