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Music videos filled with cigarettes and alcohol pose a risk for young teens

A new study reveals the shocking gross impressions of alcohol and tobacco content that adolescents are exposed to.

The findings of the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, reveal that the images of glorified alcohol and tobacco use shown in music videos, which are most popular with younger audiences, could “promote use of both of these products.”

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The research team analysed 32 of the most popular YouTube videos of the top 40 chart songs in the U.K. between the periods of Nov. 3, 2013, and Jan. 19, 2014. They then noted the average number of images or lyrics associated with alcohol and tobacco in 10-second intervals in each video.

Researchers determined the total number of impressions from the videos and found that the videos delivered a total of 1,006 million gross alcohol impressions and 203 million tobacco impressions to the British population, with maximum exposure on girls aged between 13 and 15.

The music videos with the highest numbers of tobacco impressions include “Trumpets” by Jason Derulo, “Love Me Again” by John Newman and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. Videos with the highest impressions of alcohol were “Timber” by Pitbull and “Drunk in Love” by Beyoncé.

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“Per capita exposure was around 5 times higher for alcohol than for tobacco, and nearly 4 times higher in adolescents, who were exposed to an average of 52.1 and 10.5 alcohol and tobacco impressions, respectively, than in adults,” the study states, concluding that, “YouTube music videos deliver millions of gross impressions of alcohol and tobacco content. Adolescents are exposed much more than adults. Music videos are a major global medium of exposure to such content.”

The majority of music videos appear to be aimed at teenagers or young adults, who tend to be at impressionable stages in their life. While not all music poses problems for teens, it is important to consider the lyrics and imagery, as these can undoubtedly have a strong influence on young minds.

Do you try to limit your teen’s exposure to music videos? Or is this a near-impossible feat? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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