Tobacco Asia

Volume 19, Number 5

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62 tobaccoasia / Issue 5, 2015December/January) By TobaccoChina Online Tobacco and tobacco control have always been major topics of discussion arousing attention from both the public and news media. On October 9, The Lancet – a famous international medical science journal – released a forward-looking research re- port on the trend of cigarette smoking in China by both male and female smokers. Once its contents were carried by international news outlets and were made available in China, the research report immediately received widespread attention from leading Chinese news media, which clamored to report excerpts and conclusion of the report. It is tenable to say that there were only two ma- jor hot issues in news media coverage in China this October – "One million people died in 2010 as a result of cigarette smoking" and "The toxicity of ham sausages can well match that of arsenic". However, there are many more issues that de- serve study and proof in the media coverage con- cerning the research report released by The Lancet. Meanwhile, the attitude of Chinese news media to- ward tobacco control can be well reviewed. For the media, their news coverage must be objective and impartial, and they should strive to tell the truth to their readers and audience. But there do exist some media that make a deliberate attempt at misinterpretation out of context in re- porting findings in The Lancet report. For example, a biological science website men- tions the release of the latest report as follows: Unless there is an immediate secession of smok- ing, tobacco consumption is set to kill every 1 in 3 Chinese young men. The last sentence in the first paragraph of this report reads: "Unless a sig- nificant number of them quit, 1 in 3 of all young Chinese News Media Bias Tobacco Control Coverage Chinese news media, showing bias in covering major developments in the area of tobacco control, significantly played up serious public concerns about hazards of cigarette smoking in reporting results of a recent research report on the trend of tobacco consumption in China released by The Lancet medical journal. The poster makes a deliberate misinterpretation out of context in reporting the dangers of smoking.

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