'They look like my kind of people'--perceptions of smoking images in youth magazines

Soc Sci Med. 2003 Feb;56(3):491-9. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(02)00050-3.


Ten years ago research showed that pro-smoking images were prevalent in British youth magazines, whereas there was little coverage of smoking and health. Since then there has been a great expansion in the number of youth magazines, and particularly those aimed at young men. Titles such as FHM and Loaded, which did not exist at the time of the previous research, are now market leaders. New qualitative and quantitative research has therefore been conducted to examine the prevalence and impact of smoking images in this revitalised youth style magazines market. This paper presents the findings of the qualitative element of this research, which examined British first year students' perceptions of the pro-smoking imagery found in the magazines and explored the relationship between this and their own smoking images and identities. The research found that: (a) this imagery was perceived to be, on the whole, attractive, sociable and reassuring; (b) that it supported young people's perceptions of smoking and reinforced their smoker identities; and (c) that it has the potential to be more powerful than advertising imagery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Body Image
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Periodicals as Topic*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking
  • Self Concept*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • United Kingdom