The main aims of the European 'Smoking in Movies' project were:
- To quantify smoking and alcohol in films seen, and to assess their association with smoking and drinking among adolescents in six European countries; and
- To analyse current, and develop future, policies relating to smoking and drinking in films in all EU Member States.
In order to do this, the European project collected information from six very different European countries in order to understand the impact of films beyond the U.S. domestic teen audience. In addition to Scotland (the 'ALICE' project), the collaborating countries included Iceland, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, and Germany. These countries vary not only in respect of language and culture, but also in tobacco and alcohol control policies.
The Scottish 'ALICE' project aimed to contribute to the European 'Smoking in Movies' project by:
- Collecting information on the films seen by 12-14 year olds and examining whether: (1) the amount of smoking which adolescents see in films is associated with current smoking, or with smoking uptake; and (2) the amount of alcohol drinking which adolescents see in films is associated with current drinking, or with starting to drink.
- Collecting information on other factors known to be associated with smoking and drinking and/or with the type of films an adolescent might watch (e.g. gender, rebelliousness, school achievement) and examinng whether these factors impacted on any associations found between smoking and alcohol in films seen and their own smoking and drinking.
The 'European' study questionnaire, which was administered in all six countries, was fairly short and quick to complete. In Scotland, additional questions relating to young people's health and daily lives were also included. These were placed at the end of the questionnaire, so as not to affect responses to the questions included in the 'core' European section of the questionnaire.
The Scottish-extension to the ALICE project aimed to examine:
- Gender differences in adolescent health.
- Associations between peer group structures/hierarchies and adolescent health, smoking and drinking.
- Associations between aspects of modern consumerism and adolescent health, smoking and drinking
- Whether peer group structures/hierarchies and attitudes to consumerism modified the relationship between film exposures and adolescents’ smoking and drinking.
These additional research questions represent the continuation of a longstanding interest in young people's health and behaviours within the MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit.