Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Paula Palmer

Reader 2

David E. Hansen

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© 2012 Katherine Theresa Lesyna


Tobacco use is responsible for five million deaths annually and is one of the leading causes of preventable death worldwide. Many smokers initiate smoking behavior during adolescence. Adolescent smoking rates have been on the rise and there are a variety of different factors that contribute to the initiation of smoking behavior. While the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have endorsed the claim that smoking in movies increases adolescents’ risk of initiating smoking, few studies have examined the impact of media on adolescent smoking in China following the expansion of transnational tobacco companies. The aim of this thesis is to compare the impact of entertainment media (movies, television programs, and music) on tobacco use among adolescents in both the United States and China. Using data from the China Seven Cities Study (CSCS), this thesis examined the impact of media on cigarette smoking among Chinese adolescents, as well as the relationship between smoking and Chinese adolescents’ preference for media from China, other Asian countries, and the U.S. Conducted in 126 middle- and high schools in seven major Chinese cities, the CSCS utilized student and parent surveys to gather information on the following measurements: Ever smoked, 30 day smoking, whole cigarette smoked, and daily smoking; origin of favorite movies, TV shows, and music; perceived stress, hostility, depression, and quality of life. These data indicated that Chinese adolescents who preferred forms of entertainment media from the U.S. or more developed nations of Asia were more likely to initiate tobacco use and experience depression, stress, and hostility than adolescents who preferred forms of entertainment media from China. As China develops and tobacco marketing continues to infiltrate Chinese society, these results suggest that Chinese adolescents will be at a higher risk for tobacco use and tobacco related disease. This thesis analyzes the global impacts of adolescent tobacco use and provides suggestions for future tobacco control campaigns for adolescents in China.