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What makes an ad a cigarette ad? Commercial tobacco imagery in the lesbian, gay, and bisexual press


Objectives: To determine the extent of commercial tobacco imagery in the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) press.

Methods: Content analysis of all advertising containing tobacco related text or imagery in 20 LGB community periodicals, published between January 1990 and December 2000.

Results: 3428 ads were found: 689 tobacco product ads, 1607 ads for cessation products or services, 99 ads with a political message about tobacco, and 1033 non-tobacco ads that showed tobacco (NAST). Although cessation ads were numerically dominant, tobacco product ads and NAST occupied more space and were more likely to use images. NAST almost never had an anti-tobacco message. Formal sponsorship between tobacco and other companies was very rare. Lesbian periodicals had proportionally more NAST and fewer cessation ads.

Conclusions: Cigarette ads were outnumbered by NAST. Although these ads do not usually show brands, and are unlikely to be the result of formal sponsorship agreements, they may be “selling” smoking. Tobacco control advocates should persuade editors to refuse tobacco product ads and those with gratuitous tobacco imagery.

  • LGB, lesbian, gay, and bisexual
  • NAST, non-tobacco ads that showed tobacco
  • FCTC, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  • MSA, 1998 Master Settlement Agreement
  • tobacco control
  • lesbian/gay
  • media
  • advertising

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