Decoding the image-consumption, young people, magazines and smoking. An exploration of theoretical and methodological issues

D Gray, A Amos, Candace Evelyn Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The concern that young people may be influenced by magazine images of smoking can be traced to cultural developments which have characterized the latter part of the 20th century, where the production and consumption of image is merely one facet in a transformation which has altered the way life is lived, perceived and experienced, These developments have been termed 'late' or 'post' modernism, This paper develops a theoretical explanation of the use of cigarettes in magazine fashion spreads in the context of these wider cultural changes, The rise of consumption as a means to establish self-identity will be discussed, as will its dependence on the marketing of image, The paper relates this to the growth of youth and style magazines, and their increasing use of smoking to emphasize particular moods and images, these being created to exploit certain mythologies which young people identify with and aspire to, Three ways in which images of smoking could influence young people's smoking behaviour are identified, The second part of the paper discusses some key theoretical questions and methodological issues that need to be considered when researching the semiotics of smoking, and describes the ways in which the authors attempted to address these concerns in a study which explored young people's perceptions of smoking in youth and style magazines, The third part of the paper discusses the authors' experience of casing the methods which they developed and the implications for future research in this field, The focus of the paper is thus on theoretical and methodological issues rather than the empirical findings of the study, which are reported elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-517
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Education Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997




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