Health education's role in framing pornography as a public health issue: local and national strategies with international implications

Promot Educ. 2008;15(1):11-8. doi: 10.1177/1025382307088093.


Pornography is a public health issue. However, since the US Surgeon General's workshop on pornography and public health reached a consensus statement about the impacts of pornography in 1986, few policy actions have been taken to deal with this public health problem, and intense discussion surrounding the regulation of pornography has continued. This debate spans a continuum between individual rights on one extreme and complete restriction of such material for society's good on the other extreme. However, during this same period much research has been done on the impacts of pornography on children and adults. This paper focuses on reviewing the effects of pornography on society including women, children, and consumers, and includes discussion on the current and failed policies aimed at regulating pornography. The growing phenomenon of Internet pornography use is discussed in depth, and specific policy ideas pertaining to Internet pornography are presented from a public health perspective.

MeSH terms

  • Civil Rights
  • Erotica* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Erotica* / psychology
  • Health Education*
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Internet
  • Policy Making
  • Public Health*
  • Risk Assessment
  • United States