World Comic Book Review

10th April 2024

A quick overview of tobacco smoking in mainstream comic books – Japan, the US, and France/Belgium

In a peer-reviewed article entitled “Smoking in Movies: Impact on Adolescent Smoking” written by James D. Sargent MD (Adolsc Med 16 (2005) 345-370, there is a startling finding:

“Adolescent never smokers who nominated a star who smoked on screen were 1.4 times more likely to take up smoking over the 4-year follow-up period, even after controlling for other baseline influences… [there is] strong… epidemiologic evidence of a link between exposure to movie smoking and adolescent smoking. It is notable that the estimates of the effect of seeing movie smoking on smoking initiation in both longitudinal studies were almost identical to estimates that were obtained for the cross-sectional samples. This suggests that continued exposure to movie smoking and its effect on adolescent smoking persists over time.”

If there is to be any conclusion from this survey, it is that the frequency of the depiction of smoking in comic books after decades of public education on the risks of smoking tobacco has not diminished, save in the US.

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