Cigarette smoking characters in films may cause youth to begin the habit, study suggests

A study in Reuters Health suggested that smoking in film may be an influence on youth taking up the habit. Regardless of the movie having a rating of PG-13 or R, “Movie smoking seems to be just as impactful,” says Dr. James Sargent of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in Lebanon, New Hampshite.

Smoking can be seen as “cool” by youth who view movie with characters huffing and puffing on the tobacco sticks. Sargent and his colleagues counted the number of times characters were seen smoking in over 500 box-office movies from recent years. After, they asked 6,500 American kids between ages of 10 and 14 which of a random selection of 50 movies from the ones viewed that they would watch.

The average amount of moving smoking that occurred in PG-13 films were 275 scenes and 93 scenes in R-rated movies. And for 500 extra smoking scene, “youth were 33 to 49 percent more likely to try cigarettes over the next two years.”

Head of the Program for Research on Media and Health at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Brian Primack added, “At this point, it is established that exposure to smoking in movies is a potent risk factor for actually taking up smoking, especially when the exposures are early. This study goes a step further and suggests that taking smoking out of all PG-13 movies could have a palpable effect on the impact of smoking in the U.S.”

To read the complete article, click here.

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