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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: To describe the pattern of media reporting on tobacco control policies and issues during a two year period when a policy of banning smoking entirely on hospital properties was implemented by the Calgary Health Region, the first health authority in Canada to do so.
Methods: Media content analysis of the province's two major newspapers using the search words “tobacco,” “smoking” and “cigarette” to identify each reference and its context from May 2001 to May 2003.
Results: 2,046 references were analysed. References to smoking, tobacco or cigarettes, in articles ostensibly about something else, were termed “incidental” and made up the largest category of all references (33%). After this, the next highest categories were items about the health aspects of smoking (32%), items about by-law restrictions (25%) and items about smoking as a hazard for children and youth (17%). Incidental references to smoking celebrity role models were three times more frequent than references to (self declared) anti-smoking celebrity role models. Incidental smoking references were four times more prevalent than references which stated research on the health effects of smoking. Over two years, incidental references in articles about entertainment increased by 170%. References directly to the new health region policy were minimal.