Turning great ideas into healthier communities


What surrounds us shapes us: Making the environmental case for tobacco control

2016 | Berkeley Media Studies Group

Creating healthy environments starts with knowing what you want to change. Then you have to find the right language to effectively talk about it. Language is important because how an issue is described, or framed, can affect whether it has popular or political support.

Linguists say that framing is how our minds recognize patterns of ideas, categorize them, and derive meaning from them. Framing is the translation process between incoming things we see, read or hear—and the ideas already in our heads. Frames are important to advocates because they influence how people react to ideas.

When the tobacco industry frames point of sale tobacco marketing as 'freedom of speech' or as 'providing customers with information,' people may not feel inclined to see this marketing as harmful. When the issue is framed differently—'certain communities are unfairly burdened by retail marketing'—people may be more inclined to recognize the problem. Language can create a "frame of mind" that makes some ideas attractive and others not.

From PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group and the Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center: This Framing Brief suggests how to create messages based on frames that can help people see that environments affect health. When people understand that connection, they are more likely to support policies that improve those environments.

Read the full Brief online, and access a PDF of the report. 



Berkeley Media Studies Group, The Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center

Produced through PHI's:

Berkeley Media Studies Group, Personal Responsibility Rhetoric on Tobacco- and Obesity-Related Litigation, Legislation and News Coverage