Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift Among Worst Offenders of Hit Songs Referring to Harmful Substances

Cigarettes and booze: Nearly 60% of hit songs include references to harmful substances…and Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift are among the worst offenders, study finds

  • Researchers analyzed chart hits between 2014 and 2020 to establish how much alcohol, drugs or cigarettes featured in their lyrics or videos
  • Canadian rapper Drake had the most videos showing images of smoking, drinking or drugs, with a total of 23, followed by American band Maroon 5, who had ten
  • Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and rapper Nicki Minaj tied for third place with seven videos each showing harmful substances

Almost 60% of hit songs include references to harmful substances – with Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift among the worst offenders, a study reveals.

Researchers analyzed chart hits between 2014 and 2020 to determine how much alcohol, drugs or cigarettes featured in their lyrics or videos.

Canadian rapper Drake had the most videos showing images of tobacco, alcohol or drugs, with a total of 23, followed by American group Maroon 5, which had ten.

Almost 60% of hit songs include references to harmful substances – with Ed Sheeran (above in 2017) and Taylor Swift among the worst offenders, study reveals

Taylor Swift is seen on stage in Los Angeles in 2019. Lead researcher Stephanie Albert, assistant professor of population health at New York University School of Medicine, told the Mail on Sunday:

Taylor Swift is seen on stage in Los Angeles in 2019. Lead researcher Stephanie Albert, assistant professor of population health at New York University School of Medicine, told the Mail on Sunday: “Celebrities know that young people admire them and imitate them”

Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and rapper Nicki Minaj tied for third place with seven videos each showing harmful substances.

Lead researcher Stephanie Albert, assistant professor of population health at New York University School of Medicine, told the Mail on Sunday: “Celebrities know that young people look up to them and emulate them.

“We want to see a lot less of these substances represented in music lyrics and videos. There are no health benefits for young people who use them, but there are certainly many risks and negative consequences.

His study concluded, “The depiction of alcohol, cigarettes, hookah (shisha), and marijuana in the lyrics and music videos of popular songs is a public health issue.”

Canadian rapper Drake (above in 2021) had the most videos showing images of smoking, drinking or drugs, with a total of 23, followed by US band Maroon 5, who had ten

Canadian rapper Drake (above in 2021) had the most videos showing images of smoking, drinking or drugs, with a total of 23, followed by US band Maroon 5, who had ten

He said the presence of drugs, tobacco and alcohol in music “can serve as an incentive to consume these products and signal that smoking is a social norm.”

Drake’s videos featured five harmful substances (alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and shisha), while Swift and Sheeran’s songs featured alcohol and tobacco. Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Calvin Harris, One Direction and Ariana Grande were also named in the study.

Professor Albert said: “Celebrities hold a very powerful position in society and have the unique opportunity to have a positive impact on life by not promoting or glorifying the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. “

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