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Original Investigation
October 15, 2018

Combustible and Electronic Tobacco and Marijuana Products in Hip-Hop Music Videos, 2013-2017

Author Affiliations
  • 1The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire
  • 2Department of Public Health, Behavior, and Society, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 3Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, New Hampshire
JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 15, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4488
Key Points

Question  How pervasive is combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana use in popular hip-hop music videos from 2013 to 2017?

Findings  In this content analysis of 796 hip-hop music videos from 2013 to 2017, the appearance of combustible or electronic product use or exhaled smoke or vapor ranged from 40.2% to 50.7%. The appearance of branded combustible and electronic products increased over time.

Meaning  The frequent use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana products in popular hip-hop music videos, the genre’s broad appeal, and the use of branded products by prominent artists may contribute to a growing public health concern.

Abstract

Importance  Hip-hop is the leading music genre in the United States and its fan base includes a large proportion of adolescents and young adults of all racial and ethnic groups, particularly minorities. The appearance of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana products, especially brand placement and use by popular and influential artists, may increase the risk of tobacco and marijuana use and decrease perceptions of harm.

Objective  To assess the prevalence of the appearance and use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana products, including brand placement, in leading hip-hop songs.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Analysis of top 50 songs from 2013 to 2017 of Billboard magazine’s weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with videos that included the appearance or use of combustible tobacco and marijuana products (manufactured cigarettes, cigars, hookah or waterpipe, pipe, hand-rolled tobacco and marijuana products, marijuana buds); appearance of exhaled smoke or vapor without an identifiable source product; appearance or use of electronic tobacco and marijuana products (eg, electronic cigarettes); tobacco or marijuana brand placement; appearance or use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana by main or featured artist. Data were collected from December 6, 2017, to June 4, 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Prevalence of (1) appearance or use of combustible tobacco and marijuana products, (2) appearance of smoke or vapor, (3) appearance or use of electronic tobacco and marijuana products, (4) tobacco or marijuana brand placement, and (5) appearance or use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana by main or featured artist. Probability of appearance or use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana products by quartile of viewership of videos.

Results  The proportion of leading hip-hop videos containing combustible use, electronic use, or smoke or vapor ranged from 40.2% (76 of 189) in 2015, to 50.7% (102 of 201) in 2016. For each year, the leading category of combustible use was hand-rolled products. The appearance of branded products increased from 0% in 2013 (0 of 82) to 9.9% in 2017 (10 of 101) for combustible products, and from 25.0% in 2013 (3 of 12) to 87.5% in 2017 (14 of 16) for electronic products. The prevalence of combustible or electronic product use or exhaled smoke or vapor increased by quartile of total number of views: 41.9% (8700 to 19 million views) among songs in the first quartile of viewership and 49.7% among songs in the fourth quartile of viewership (112 million to 4 billion views).

Conclusions and Relevance  Combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana use frequently occurred in popular hip-hop music videos. The genre’s broad appeal, use of branded products by influential artists, and rise of electronic product and marijuana use may contribute to a growing public health concern of tobacco and marijuana use.

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