Teen Health and the Media
TobaccoAlcohol & Other DrugsTeen SexualityViolenceBody Image and Nutrition
Four smiling teenage faces


Media Challenge Current News Fast Facts Teen Projects Resources & Links Hand on remote control



• October 22, 2009 - Nicole Kidman says Hollywood contributes to violence against women
Actor heads to Washington in her role as a UN ambassador to support legislation aimed at tackling abuse

• October 22, 2009 - Nutritionandmedia.org

Nicole Kidman says Hollywood contributes to violence against women

Actor heads to Washington in her role as a UN ambassador to support legislation aimed at tackling abuse

RJR suing over rights

R.J. Reynolds, Conwood Co. LLC, and other companies filed a lawsuit against the federal government in federal court in Bowling Green, Ky., over cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies' "First Amendment right to communicate with adult tobacco consumers about their products. For more details go to this link.

Don't Drink Yourself Fat.

New York State has shelved the idea of a tax on sugary sodas and juice drinks. But New York City's public health officials opened a new front in their struggle against high-calorie beverages on Monday, unveiling an ad campaign that depicts globs of human fat gushing from a soda bottle.

"Are you pouring on the pounds?" asks the ad, which urges viewers to consider water, seltzer or low-fat milk instead, and warns: "Don't drink yourself fat." The ad - which cost about $277,000 to develop over three fiscal years, including money for creative work and focus groups - will run in 1,500 subway cars for three months. (The $90,000 cost of the subway advertisement comes through a private donor, the Fund for Public Health in New York.)

• October 07, 2009 - Social Marketing Examples from Promotion Board Presentation
National Fruit and Vegetable Research and Promotion Board

• September 04, 2009 - RJR suing over rights
R.J. Reynolds, Conwood Co. LLC, and other companies filed a lawsuit against the federal government in federal court in Bowling Green, Ky., over cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies' "First Amendment right to communicate with adult tobacco consumers about their products. For more details go to this link.


• September 04, 2009 - Don't Drink Yourself Fat.
New York State has shelved the idea of a tax on sugary sodas and juice drinks. But New York City's public health officials opened a new front in their struggle against high-calorie beverages on Monday, unveiling an ad campaign that depicts globs of human fat gushing from a soda bottle.

"Are you pouring on the pounds?" asks the ad, which urges viewers to consider water, seltzer or low-fat milk instead, and warns: "Don't drink yourself fat." The ad - which cost about $277,000 to develop over three fiscal years, including money for creative work and focus groups - will run in 1,500 subway cars for three months. (The $90,000 cost of the subway advertisement comes through a private donor, the Fund for Public Health in New York.)

• August 07, 2009 - Tobacco Regulation Is Expected to Face a Free-Speech Challenge
Congress would like to stop young people from smoking, but opponents say
the marketing and advertising restrictions in the measure don't abide by
the First Amendment.

• August 05, 2009 - Are Cigarette Packs the New Cigarette Ads?
As more routes of advertising get closed off to cigarette makers, cigarette pack designs are taking on greater importance as marketing tools -- and carrying more meaning for smokers.

• August 05, 2009 - American Legacy Extends Anti-Tobacco Efforts
The American Legacy Foundation is launching the next iteration of its latest campaign, "Do You Have What it Takes to be a Tobacco Exec?" Here is an article about this new campaign.

• July 23, 2009 - Join Together
State Budget Cuts Burn Tobacco Prevention Programs

State smoking-prevention programs are being slashed or even shut down as states grapple with massive budget deficits, the Associated Press reported May 27.

In Vermont, for example, state lawmakers are cutting $1.9 million from antismoking efforts, while Washington state legislators slashed a whopping $22 million over two years from a prevention campaign that includes a quit line and TV and radio ads.

Maryland's tobacco-control budget was cut from $16.7 million last year to $4.6 million, while Colorado cut $6 million from its tobacco education and cessation program even as it raised cigarette taxes and took money from a cash reserve account funded with proceeds from the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement.

"You're seeing disproportionate cuts to tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and it's a foolish strategy," said Thomas Carr of the American Lung Association. "It may solve the budget deficit now, but it increases your costs in the long run, because of the costs tobacco use imposes on state economies in healthcare costs and lost productivity."

• April 20, 2009 - New Website

New Nutrition and Media Website Now Online.

The Northwest Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, College of Education, University of Washington, and Action For Media Education (AME), are pleased to announce a new website: Nutritionandmedia.org.This website contains a wealth of information available in interactive menus, including information concerning body image and healthy ways to achieve your fitness and diet goals.

For more information about the Nutritionandmedia project, please contact Marilyn Cohen, Ph.D. (macohen@u.washington.edu) or call 1-888-833-6638. You may also reach the developers through the 'contact us' section of the website.

• April 20, 2009 - National Institute on Media and the Family
Millions of kids, especially boys, are hooked on video games. A national survey revealed that 97% of school-age children play them regularly. Larger than the Hollywood movie industry, video games are the fastest growing form of media entertainment. With their use of cutting edge technologies, video games involve the player in ever-more realistic, complex, and involved gaming situations. For most kids and families, video games are a fun part of a healthy media diet. For others, video game play can start to replace or erode important activities like spending time with friends, doing homework, sleeping and, in some cases, even eating. A growing number of parents are worried that their kids are "addicted" to video games. Of course, a true addiction means more than doing something a lot. An emerging body of research on video game play and youth is just helping us understand the scope of the issue.
Read all about it here.

• March 30, 2009 - Teens Health Site
The Teens Health Site from Nemours has a section focused on Alcohol and Drugs as they relate to teens. The site can help answer alcohol related questions like:

-Alcohol-what's the problem?
-Binge Drinking
-Coping With an Alcoholic Parent
-I Think I May Have a Drinking/Drug Problem. What Should I Do?

The site also focuses on drug-related issues like these ones:

-ADHD Medications
-Are Steroids Worth the Risk?
-Drugs: What You Should Know
-I Think I May Have a Drinking/Drug Problem. What Should I Do?
-Prescription Drug Abuse
-What Are the Dangers of Secondhand Smoke?

• March 30, 2009 - American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society has created a great tobacco resource online for teens. This website explains the facts about teen smoking in a clear and honest way. Highly recommended. Here is a sample:

Child and Teen Tobacco Use

Understanding the problem

The good news: The number of younger Americans who smoke has been going down since the late 1990s.

The bad news: The rates of tobacco smoking among teenagers are still higher than those of adults. On top of that, about 1 in 7 high school boys use some form of spit or other type of smokeless tobacco. More than 2% of high school girls use spit or smokeless tobacco.

Children and teens are easy targets for the tobacco industry. They're often influenced by TV, movies, advertising, and by what their friends do and say. They don't realize what a struggle it can be to quit, and having cancer, emphysema, blindness, or impotence may not seem like real concerns. Children and teens don't think much about future health outcomes.

Here we talk about tobacco use among children and teens. We also give some tips for parents, teachers, and other adults who want to keep their kids tobacco-free.

Facts about kids and tobacco

Almost all smokers start while they're young.

Nearly all first use of tobacco takes place before high school graduation. A 2007 survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 50% of high school students had tried cigarette smoking at some point. Studies have shown that, for the most part, people who do not start using tobacco when they are teens never start using it.

The younger you are when you begin to smoke, the more likely you are to be an adult smoker. Almost 90% of adult smokers started at or before the age 19. And people who start smoking at younger ages are more likely to develop long-term nicotine addiction than people who start later in life.

• March 30, 2009 - Teens Health Site
The TeensHealth site, from the Nemours Foundation, has posted a comprehensive website about abstinence. You can also learn about STDs and numerous other topics concerning your health as a teen. You can find the site at this link.

• March 30, 2009 - 2009 Abstinence Information
New Abstinence information from Planned Parenthood is available on their website. On their website you will find discussion on these topics and more:
-What Is Abstinence?
-How Does Abstinence Prevent Pregnancy?
-How Effective Is Abstinence?
-How Safe Is Abstinence?
-What Are the Benefits of Abstinence?
-What Are the Disadvantages of Abstinence?
-How Do I Talk with My Partner About Being Abstinent?
-How Can I Stay Abstinent?

The site is available at this link.

• March 30, 2009 - TeensHealth and Body Image
The Nemours Foundation offers a section of their website focused entirely on body image and self-esteem for teens. An excerpt of the site follows.
I'm fat. I'm too skinny. I'd be happy if I were taller, shorter, had curly hair, straight hair, a smaller nose, bigger muscles, longer legs.

Do any of these statements sound familiar? Are you used to putting yourself down? If so, you're not alone. As a teen, you're going through a ton of changes in your body. And as your body changes, so does your image of yourself. Lots of people have trouble adjusting, and this can affect their self-esteem.

Why Are Self-Esteem and Body Image Important?
Self-esteem is all about how much people value themselves, the pride they feel in themselves, and how worthwhile they feel. Self-esteem is important because feeling good about yourself can affect how you act. A person who has high self-esteem will make friends easily, is more in control of his or her behavior, and will enjoy life more.

Body image is how a person feels about his or her own physical appearance.

For many people, especially people in their early teens, body image can be closely linked to self-esteem. That’s because as kids develop into teens, they care more about how others see them.

• March 30, 2009 - Avert
Avert is a website designed to help stop the spread of HIV and AIDS, and focuses on educating young people about the realities and risks of this, and other STDs. The Website is very accessible and offers a great introduction to the issues. Check it out!

What are STDs?

STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease (sometimes called Sexually Transmitted Infection). This is an infection which can be caught by having sexual contact with someone who is infected. This can be vaginal, oral or anal sex, although other types of touching can pass some STDs - for example, some STDs (such as Herpes and HPV) can be caught by touching the infected areas of someone's body and then touching your own genitals (private parts). There are quite a lot of different STDs. We have more information about the different STDs and HIV and AIDS.

Aren't STDs only a problem for older people who sleep around?

No. In fact, some STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea are actually more common among teens than among older men and women. And you don't have to sleep around to get an STD, although it can increase your chances of having sex with someone with an STD.

• March 24, 2009 - Food Revolution in Season?
New York Times Article Here.

As tens of thousands of people recently strolled among booths of the nation’s largest organic and natural foods show here, munching on fair-trade chocolate and sipping organic wine, a few dozen pioneers of the industry sneaked off to an out-of-the-way conference room.

Although unit sales of organic food have leveled off and even declined lately, versus a year earlier, the mood among those crowded into the conference room was upbeat as they awaited a private screening of a documentary called “Food Inc.” — a withering critique of agribusiness and industrially produced food.

They also gathered to relish their changing political fortunes, courtesy of the Obama administration.

“This has never been just about business,” said Gary Hirshberg, chief executive of Stonyfield Farm, the maker of organic yogurt. “We are here to change the world. We dreamt for decades of having this moment.”

After being largely ignored for years by Washington, advocates of organic and locally grown food have found a receptive ear in the White House, which has vowed to encourage a more nutritious and sustainable food supply.

• March 24, 2009 - Nemours Foundation
A good resource for learning more about Teen Health and STDs can be found at the Teenshealth website.

Here is a brief introduction:

Sexually transmitted diseases (also known as STDs and once called venereal diseases or VD) are infectious diseases that spread from person to person through intimate contact. STDs can affect guys and girls of all ages and backgrounds who are having sex — it doesn't matter if they're rich or poor.

Unfortunately, STDs have become common among teens. Because teens are more at risk for getting some STDs, it's important to learn what you can do to protect yourself.

STDs are more than just an embarrassment. They're a serious health problem. If untreated, some STDs can cause permanent damage, such as infertility (the inability to have a baby) and even death (in the case of HIV/AIDS).

• March 23, 2009 -
Cigarettes in New Film Stir Anger at Studio


LOS ANGELES — Angry at Warner Brothers over images of cigarettes in the comedy “He’s Just Not That Into You,” an arm of the American Medical Association is demanding that the studio step up its policing of tobacco images on screen.

The American Medical Association Alliance said it intends to lodge an official complaint on Thursday with Warner Brothers and its corporate parent, Time Warner, over “disturbing images of specific cigarette brands in this youth-rated movie,” said Melissa Walthers, director of the health advocacy group’s effort to reduce teenage smoking.

Among other things, the group wants Warner publicly to certify that it received no payment for the product placement and is asking all Hollywood studios to ban filmmakers from showing specific tobacco brands in their work. “There is absolutely zero artistic justification for this,” Ms. Walthers said in a telephone interview, adding that various studies estimate that smoking in films prompts 200,000 young people annually to start smoking.

A Warner Brothers spokesman declined to comment.

• March 23, 2009 - Shapingyouth Blog!
There is a great deal of excellent information related to youth and tobacco use (including advice on how to stop smoking) at the Shaping Youth Blog.

• March 18, 2009 - Washington Post
At least 3 percent of District residents have HIV or AIDS, a total that far surpasses the 1 percent threshold that constitutes a "generalized and severe" epidemic, according to a report scheduled to be released by health officials tomorrow.

That translates into 2,984 residents per every 100,000 over the age of 12 -- or 15,120 -- according to the 2008 epidemiology report by the District's HIV/AIDS office.
"Our rates are higher than West Africa," said Shannon L. Hader, director of the District's HIV/AIDS Administration, who once led the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's work in Zimbabwe. "They're on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya."
"We have every mode of transmission" -- men having sex with men, heterosexual and injected drug use -- "going up, all on the rise, and we have to deal with them," Hader said.
Among its findings: Almost half of those who had connections to the parts of the city with the highest AIDS prevalence and poverty rates said they had overlapping sexual partners within the past 12 months, three in five said they were aware of their own HIV status, and three in 10 said they had used a condom the last time they had sex.
Together, the reports offer a sobering assessment in a city that for years has stumbled in combating HIV and AIDS and is just beginning to regain its footing.

• March 16, 2009 - Newswise, March 16, 2009
Professors Urge Food Industry to Avoid Tobacco Playbook


Two of the nation's top public-health specialists are issuing a call
to arms in a new journal article, urging the food industry not to
follow the same playbook as cigarette companies did starting in the 1950s.

The food industry of today and the tobacco industry share strategies
such as tarring opponents as "fascists," distorting science and
insisting that they do not promote overuse of their products, argue
Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and
Obesity at Yale University, and Kenneth Warner, dean of the
University of Michigan School of Public Health.

"The world cannot afford a repeat of the tobacco history, in which
industry talks about the moral high ground, but does not occupy it,"
the authors write. "The question is whether they [the food industry]
will behave in honorable, health-promoting ways or will sink to the
depths occupied by tobacco."

In an interview, Brownell said the two industries are different in
many ways, but share a number of strategies:

"One is heavy-duty lobbying; two is paying scientists to produce
results that favor industry positions; three is fighting to frame the
issue as a matter of personal rather than corporate responsibility
and the fourth is funding front groups to do their dirty work," he said.

In their article, which appears in the March issue of The Milbank
Quarterly, the co-authors make several suggestions. They say food
companies should stop selling unhealthy products in schools and
hospitals, end "unwarranted" blaming of people for their actions
regarding obesity, stop using celebrities to promote unhealthy food
and cease marketing unhealthy foods to children.

The food industry should also reformulate products with healthier
ingredients, Brownell said. "The question is whether you can you
count on industry to do this out of goodwill, or will the market just
demand these changes because people want better foods?"

Among other points, the article mentions that the American Dietetic
Association has taken a stand that there are no good or bad foods,
which the authors say is similar to the tobacco industry's early
position that "smoking per se was not bad, only 'excess' smoking."
The commentary adds that the association's close work with the food
industry is an example of the industry's "influential positions in
surprising places."

In response, Martin Yadrick, president of the American Dietetic
Association, said it is not "valid" to compare food to tobacco, since
people need one and not the other.

As for the association's ties to food makers, he said, "Health
professionals of all types, especially registered dietitians, need to
work with the food industry to ensure a wide variety of healthy food
options are available for people. There is no one-size-fits-all
definition of 'healthy.'"

• March 15, 2009 - Smoke-Free Movies?
See the ad at: This Link

Smoke Free Movies has launched a series of print advertisements in Variety and other publications. This advertisement first ran on February 20, 2009.

Congratulations! 23 films nominated for Academy Awards include tobacco.

Big Tobacco should practice its thank-you speech. This year, every live-action feature nominated in every Academy Award category* paraded tobacco imagery across the screen.

Including fourteen nominated features rated “R” by the Motion Picture Association of America. And nine more features rated PG-13 (although only two of them disclose smoking in their MPAA rating label).

Coincidence? Of course not.

Smoking is almost impossible to avoid in a year when almost 80 percent of R-rated films and more than half of PG-13 movies featured tobacco.

Eleven films this year even showcased tobacco brands. Eight of them cast Marlboro, the leading brand among adolescent smokers.

The real tragedy is that young audiences can be protected using the film industry’s own R-rating. And so few industry leaders are aware that progress is already occurring, at no cost.

Can you recall the smoking in even five of these nominated movies? If it’s so marginal to the film, who was it important to?

And why?

* Analysis included every live-action category except Foreign Language and Short Films, for which we had incomplete information.

[Ashtray with caption]

Introducing the Roscoe®, an elegantly restrained but practical ashtray award to put next to your flashy statuette. This year, we ordered crates.


You’ve seen the movies, now get the big picture.

A new report issued Feb. 18 by Breathe California and UCSF spotlights on-screen smoking trends from 1991 to 2008. The deeper inside the industry you are, the more it will interest you. Download your copy now:

Click Here

Smoke Free Movies


Smoking in movies kills in real life. | Smoke Free Movie policies—the R-rating, certification of no payoffs, anti-tobacco spots, and an end to brand display—are endorsed by the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, AMA Alliance, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, American Legacy Foundation, American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, L.A. County Dept. of Health Services, New York State Dept. of Health, N.Y. State PTA, and many others. Visit our web site or write: Smoke Free Movies, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390.

• March 07, 2009 - Violence Updates
Violent video games as causes of aggression: Pediatrics recently published three longitudinal studies by Craig Anderson and a group of Japanese researchers. They investigate the content of games, how often they are played and resulting aggressive behaviors in school. "We now have conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has harmful effects on children and adolescents," Anderson said. His 2007 book is Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents.

Combating video game addiction: "This is starting to become a global effort of recognizing this isn't just a problem of the West; this isn't just a problem of the East," said Douglas Gentile, director of research at Minnesota's National Institute on Media and the Family. "As video games become a bigger part of our shared culture, we're all going to end up dealing with this."

FYI: Video game ratings and summaries are now available on line at

• January 13, 2009 - U.S. House Acts to Protect Kids
CONTACT: Joel Spivak, 202-296-5469

U.S. House Acts to Protect Kids, Save Lives by Increasing Federal Tobacco Taxes
Statement of Matthew L. Myers
President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today delivered a tremendous victory for children’s health by voting to increase federal tobacco taxes, including a 61-cent increase in the cigarette tax, to fund reauthorization and expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). By both reducing tobacco use – the number one cause of preventable death in our country – and expanding health care coverage, this legislation will create a healthier future for literally millions of children. We look forward to Senate approval of this legislation and its signature into law by President Obama.

Increasing tobacco taxes is a proven strategy to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among children. Studies show that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent. A 61-cent increase in the federal cigarette tax will prevent nearly two million kids from starting to smoke, help more than one million adult smokers quit, prevent nearly 900,000 smoking-caused deaths and produce $44 billion in long-term health care savings by reducing tobacco-caused health care costs. To maximize the health and revenue benefits and health care cost savings, we urge the Congress to increase federal taxes on all other tobacco products to parallel cigarette tax rates.

Higher tobacco taxes are a win-win-win solution for the country – a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will raise revenue to help fund the SCHIP program and reduce tobacco-caused health care costs, and a political win that is popular with voters. Polling conducted for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids found that more than two-thirds of all voters support a significant increase in the federal cigarette tax to provide health care coverage to uninsured children. This support is evident among virtually every political and demographic subgroup of voters across the country, with large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, men and women, and urban and rural voters supporting the cigarette tax to fund children’s health care.

Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people in the United States and costs the nation more than $96 billion in health care bills each year. Currently, 20 percent of high school students smoke and more than 1,000 kids become new regular smokers every day.

We urge Congress to pass this important legislation without delay. It will expand health care coverage for America’s children while helping to reduce tobacco use and save lives.

More information:

Fact sheet: Benefits from a 61-cent federal cigarette tax increase: www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0314.pdf

• September 01, 2007 -
RFP now available for TISSAM (Take It Seriously: Sex And Media):

• September 14, 2006 - The Portland Tribune
Portland schools junk the junk food
Starting September 6, the first day of school, the district will eliminate soda in vending machines at all grade levels and put salad bars with fresh fruits and vegetables in all school cafeterias.

• July 26, 2006 - The Seattle Times
Obesity-related diabetes riskier for children, study says
CHICAGO — Children who get obesity-related diabetes face a much higher risk of kidney failure and death by middle age than people who develop diabetes as adults, a study suggests.

• July 19, 2006 -
Just launched: MyPopStudio.com, a creative online play experience that strengthens critical thinking skills about television, music, magazines and online media directed at girls. Users select from four behind-the-scenes opportunities to learn more about mass media: the Magazine Studio; the TV Studio; the Music Studio; and the Digital Studio. Users can edit their own reality show, create their own pop star, or turn into a celebrity to see how it feels! My Pop Studio was created by a team of researchers and media professionals at the Media Education Lab, located at Temple University's School of Communication and Theater in the Department of Broadcast Telecommunication and Mass Media. New AMLA Board member Sherri Hope Culver and AMLA member Renee Hobbs led the production team.

[next page]

[Back to Top]