Objective: To study the prevalence of smoking in German television in 2005.
Methods: Content analysis of all programmes of the four main national channels Das Erste, ZDF RTL and Pro7 over one week between 3 pm and 12 pm. A total of 395 programmes were analysed (252 h of programming). Each programme was coded regarding whether there was one or more smoking occurrence, defined as active smoking or handling with tobacco products by a character.
Results: Smoking was portrayed in 176 (45%) of the programmes. Smoking occurrences were frequent in movies (77%), and in TV magazines (69%). Movies, films, and serials produced in Germany showed more often smoking (65%) compared with productions from abroad (48%; p = 0.051).
Conclusions: Smoking is frequently portrayed in German TV.