This longitudinal study examines the relationship between exposure to smoking in movies and young people taking up the habit. Researchers looked at almost 10,000 adolescents in Germany, Iceland, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and the UK., 71% of whom reported having never smoked. The findings showed that 17% of the sample began smoking between the start of the study and one-year follow-up and the overall risk of initiating smoking increased by 13% for every 1,000 smoking scenes watched. When researchers controlled for other risk factors for smoking such as age, gender, school performance, parents’ smoking and TV time, the relationship between exposure and smoking remained significant in 5 of the 6 countries. The study shows the importance of prevention targeting impressionable adolescent audiences that are still developing their self-image and may want to search for acceptance through following their role models on the screen and taking up the smoking habit. A study we covered previously shows that the important fall in movie smoking scenes has recently reversed in the US.
Smoking in movies affects adolescents: worrying evidence from 6 countries