Tobacco and alcohol use behaviors portrayed in music videos: a content analysis

Am J Public Health. 1997 Jul;87(7):1131-5. doi: 10.2105/ajph.87.7.1131.


Objectives: Music videos from five genres of music were analyzed for portrayals of tobacco and alcohol use and for portrayals of such behaviors in conjunction with sexuality.

Methods: Music videos (n = 518) were recorded during randomly selected days and times from four television networks. Four female and four male observers aged 17 to 24 years were trained to use a standardized content analysis instrument. All videos were observed by rotating two-person, male-female teams who were required to reach agreement on each behavior that was scored. Music genre and network differences in behaviors were analyzed with chi-squared tests.

Results: A higher percentage (25.7%) of MTV videos than other network videos portrayed tobacco use. The percentage of videos showing alcohol use was similar on all four networks. In videos that portrayed tobacco and alcohol use, the lead performer was most often the one smoking or drinking and the use of alcohol was associated with a high degree of sexuality on all the videos.

Conclusions: These data indicate that even modest levels of viewing may result in substantial exposure to glamorized depictions of alcohol and tobacco use and alcohol use coupled with sexuality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Nicotiana*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Public Health*
  • Smoking
  • Videotape Recording*