Our content analysis of newspaper and television news stories in South Korea examines the quantity and nature of news about novel heated tobacco products (HTPs), which heat instead of burn tobacco and that manufacturers claim are less harmful than cigarettes. The amount of news coverage peaked when the government introduced new regulations, suggesting that HTP news was driven largely by new policies. Indeed, HTPs were more likely to be presented as a policy rather than a health issue. When it comes to news sources, government agencies and HTP manufacturers were referenced most often in the news. As for benefits of HTPs, news stories focused on reduced harm, greater social acceptability, and convenience, while discussions of drawbacks included potentially being equally or more harmful than cigarettes, the possibility of extensive future regulations, and HTPs’ unknown health effects. Findings suggested that certain journalistic practices, such as relying heavily on established routine sources, focusing on the stories that could attract large audiences, and representing the perspectives of the publishers and the primary audiences, might have affected the nature of HTP discourse.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences