by Mandee Olinger DO, MA, FAAP
Dear KAAP Members: As you E-cigarette Chapter Champion, I wanted to share an update from the Tobacco Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What’s new in the world of Tobacco Control?
At the very end of 2021, the Truth Initiative published “While You Were Streaming – Smoking on Demand”, which is an analysis of smoking and vaping content in streaming platforms popular among youth.
Prior research has demonstrated that exposure to tobacco imagery through movies has a causal relationship with youth initiating use of combustible tobacco. More recently, this exposure has been shown to triple a young person’s odds of starting to vape. So, monitoring the content of what’s popular on Netflix and other streaming platforms such as YouTube is extremely important.
The underlying issue is the renormalization and re-glamorization of nicotine and tobacco use. Although exposure to vaping itself in streaming platforms is rare, youth are continuously exposed to characters smoking combustible cigarettes. They then translate this exposure to choosing the most commonly used nicotine product of their peers – electronic cigarettes.
Here are some take-home facts:
- 60% of young people’s favorite new releases featured images of tobacco, exposing 27 million young people to tobacco imagery in 2020.
- 64% of top binge-watched shows included tobacco depictions.
- Netflix was the top offender, despite a prior pledge to limit tobacco depictions.
- The “Family Guy” was the most binge-watched show among youth in 2020 and had the most tobacco depictions of the 15 top shows in 2020.
- The Queen’s Gambit, a very popular show, featured tobacco in every episode.
The Truth Initiative provides some action steps that should be taken with video production companies to emphasize the harmful effects and increasing rates among youth use of tobacco products. If you are looking for a focus on advocacy work, this area is so important and has a broad public health impact! You can get involved via The Truth Initiative or with your local AAP chapter.
The University of Kansas has been in partnership with the Kansas School Boards to improve how schools respond to nicotine addiction and cessation. Our next step is a research survey that we will share with both Kansas and Missouri chapters of the AAP, to learn what providers are lacking to confidently approach youth wrapped up in the nicotine epidemic. Please keep an eye out for the survey as your feedback will inform education and resource materials that we plan to distribute at the Spring KAAP meeting. If you have specific ideas, comments or have experienced new ways youth are being exposed to nicotine products, please share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.