Kids Who See Actors Smoke Are Likely to Try Tobacco, Study Says
Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Young people who often see actors smoke in movies are more than twice as likely to try smoking as kids who rarely see tobacco use on film, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School found that 38 percent of adolescents who tried cigarettes did so because they saw smoking in movies, according to a study of 6,522 U.S. kids ages 10 to 14. The results of the study were published today in the journal Pediatrics.
The risk of smoking increased with more exposure to smoking among four groups of kids who were asked whether they had seen a random selection of U.S. films released from 1998 to 2000. The researchers found examples of smoking in about 74 percent of the movies.
These findings suggest that smoking in films may outweigh the influence of parents and peers in kids' decisions to try cigarettes, James Sargent, the lead study author and a professor of pediatrics, said in a statement distributed by Dartmouth.
The study authors suggested that movie executives should reduce the depictions of smoking and references to cigarette brands in films, or institute a rating system with a warning about the risks of smoking. The National Cancer Institute supported this research.
More than 3 million children ages 12 to 17, or about 13 percent of that population, smoke cigarettes, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. About 29 percent of Americans use some form of tobacco, the institute said on its Web site.