Smoking in Films Linked to Adolescents' Habits

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Smoking in Films Linked to Adolescents' Habits

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:29 pm

Smoking in Films Linked to Adolescents' Habits

The Washington Post
SCIENCE NOTEBOOK, Monday, Sept 24, 2007

The likelihood that an adolescent will become addicted to cigarettes increases with every smoking
scene he or she sees in movies, new research indicates.

The finding suggests that programs such as Smoke Free Movies, which ask movie studios to reduce
depictions of smoking in films aimed at minors, deserve more support, the researchers conclude.

Previous studies have found that youngsters who watch movies that show smoking are more likely
to try a cigarette for the first time. But although half of all high school seniors say they have tried a
cigarette, 7 percent are daily smokers of half a pack or more.

And little is known about what factors make the difference between those who do not get hooked
and those who do.

Susanne Tanski and James Sargent of Dartmouth Medical School and their co-authors counted
the number of smoking scenes in 532 box-office hits over the past five years. Then they surveyed
by telephone 6,522 adolescents ages 10 to 14 about which of those movies they had seen, as well
as their smoking habits. They resurveyed the youngsters eight, 16 and 24 months later.

The team found a direct correlation between the number of smoking scenes watched and the
chances of becoming a habitual smoker: Children who had seen the most scenes were twice as
likely to end up addicted as those who had seen the fewest. The link was not affected by social
and economic factors, and there was no link between smoking and the total number of movies
watched, strengthening the case that smoking scenes per se are to blame. The study is in the
September issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Rick Weiss

I do not have a link for the Post article, because you have to be a member to log in.
Here is the link to the medical journal:
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Postby Wilberforce » Sat Sep 29, 2007 12:35 pm

If impressionable teens see tobacco usage in movies, they then aspire to be cool, and give it a try.
I suppose the newest movies depict the villain, (not the hero) as the smoker. That's Hollywood's
'anti-smoking' message? It seems to backfire, for a few misguided teens may think (in their immature
way of thinking), that it's cool to be the bad guy, and a cigarette gives them that sought-after image.

Perhaps newer movies which depict smoking (as well as drinking) should carry at least an 'R' rating.
Don't try to invoke the First Amendment here. This is about hopefully saving our children from a life of
drug addiction. Which has greater importance? Freedom of expression? I don't think so.

Moreover, if fewer people start using tobacco, perhaps fewer people will accept smoke from other
as a 'normal' thing in life. Please see my post: "The smoke is normal culture" for my own
justification of this theory.
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