Teens are more likely to start smoking if they see a lot of movie scenes that depict smoking, according to a new study which found that youth exposed to a lot of onscreen smoking are about three times more likely to begin smoking than those with less exposure to smoking in movies.
The researchers also analysed the top-grossing movies from 1991 to 2009 and found that depictions of tobacco use have declined in recent years. However, more than half of the PG-13-rated movies released in 2009 still contained tobacco imagery.
The study appears in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The authors suggested a number of ways to decrease the negative impact of movie smoking on young people: give R ratings to new movies that portray tobacco use; require that strong anti-tobacco ads be shown before movies that depict smoking; and forbid tobacco brand displays in movies. (Reuters Health/ 20 August 2010)
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