Exposure of the Spanish population to the smoking imaginary in TV programs (ImaginTAB-tv Study)


Watching smoking or smoking-related situations in movies and on TV reinforces the use of tobacco among smokers and facilitates relapse of ex-smokers, but above all it induces non-smokers to smoke, especially if when adolescents. This negative influence on young people is especially worrisome because it affects more adolescents theoretically at lower risk of smoking, that is, those who get good grades in class, are less likely to take risks or with non-smoking parents, than the most problematic adolescents. Today we know that watching smoking or situations related to smoking in the cinema and on TV is a serious problem in the world because it generates 37% of new smokers among adolescents.

Despite the seriousness of the problem, there are effective and feasible solutions to reduce the negative influence of smoking scenes in film and TV. The international treaty that Spain signed in 2005 to reduce tobacco consumption indicates that the most effective measures to reduce the representation of tobacco in cinema and TV, while safeguarding legitimate artistic expression, are: a) requiring the media to certify that it does not have received any benefit in exchange for the representation of tobacco, b) prohibiting the use of identifiable brands or images of tobacco brands, c) requiring anti-tobacco advertising before and during the broadcast and d) compelling an evaluation or program classification system that takes into account the representation of tobacco.



A “tobacco impression” is the audiovisual scenic unit that presents, represents or evokes a tobacco product or its consumption. All of the impressions make up the “tobacco imaginary.” The general objectives are 1) to estimate the frequency and population prevalence of exposure to smoking impressions in prime time TV programming, and 2) to describe the exposure according to the characteristics of the people exposed, of the impressions issued and the programs that broadcast them.



The first phase of the project includes an observational study with a cross-sectional design that analyzes the programme content minute by minute and estimates the frequency of tobacco impressions broadcast on television in Spain during a sample of 1260 hours of broadcasting on 15 national channels (60% of the national share) and three regional ones. To do this, the programs will be recorded and viewed by two observers trained to encode the characteristics of tobacco impressions with standardized methods. The second phase of the study consists of combining the above information with that of the audiences of channels and programs by the company Kantar Media (in a panel of 4,775 households) to obtain: (1) the frequency of tobacco impressions received and (2) the prevalence of the population exposed to some tobacco impression according to different sociodemographic characteristics of the audience, type of impressions and program genre. The factors associated with the smoking imaginary will be analyzed with multiple logistic regression models.



3 years (January 2021 – January 2024)



Instituto Carlos III FIS PI19 / 01075 endowed with € 62,300.00


Research team

Armando Peruga (IP). (ICO-IDIBELL)

Esteve Fernández. (ICO-IDIBELL)

Olena Tigova. (ICO-IDIBELL)

Dolors Carnicer. (ICO-IDIBELL)

Laura Antón. (ICO-IDIBELL)

Ariadna Feliu. (ICO-IDIBELL)

Esteve Saltó. (Health Department of the Generalitat of Catalunya)

Félix Bosch (Esteve Foundation)

Juan Rey Pino (University of Granada)