Smoking in movies influences teenagers to start smoking

June 09, 2003

HANOVER, NH - Researchers from Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth College and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center report that viewing smoking in movies strongly predicts whether or not adolescents will try smoking.

Their study, which appears online on June 9 in The Lancet and was supported by the National Cancer Institute, considers the effect of watching smoking in movies on adolescents who had never tried smoking themselves.

"Here's more evidence that movies have a strong impact on adolescents," says Madeline Dalton, the lead author on this paper and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School. "Previous studies suggested that smoking in movies influences adolescent smoking behavior, but this is the first study to show that viewing smoking in movies predicts who will start smoking in the future."

In 1999, the researchers surveyed children aged 10 to 14 about a variety of behaviors, including smoking and movie watching. From this survey, the researchers identified 3,500 adolescents who had never tried smoking. They re-contacted 2,600 of these adolescents one to two years later to determine if they had started smoking. In the follow-up interview, ten percent of the students reported that they had tried smoking.

The statistical analyses of the follow-up survey data showed that the strongest predictor of first-time cigarette smoking was the amount of smoking seen in movies. Even after controlling for other factors that might influence smoking behavior, such as friend, sibling and parent smoking, children who had seen the most smoking in movies were more than two and a half times more likely to start smoking compared to children who had seen the least amount of smoking.

"Our data indicate that 52 percent of smoking initiation among adolescents in this study can be attributed to movie smoking exposure," says Michael Beach, co-author on the paper and associate professor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. "This suggests that reducing adolescents' exposure to smoking in movies could significantly reduce the number of adolescents who initiate this behavior."

Related Findings:
Dalton is one of the lead scientists in a prolific research group at Dartmouth dedicated to understanding adolescent behavior and how it's linked to exposure to movies. They have published numerous studies. In January 2001, this research team reported that actor endorsement of cigarette brands in movies was increasing. In March 2001, the team released findings that adolescents whose favorite movie stars smoke on-screen are more likely to be smokers themselves. In December 2001, they published a paper stating that children are less likely to smoke if their parents disapprove. In another article, published in December 2001, the researchers revealed that as adolescents see more smoking in movies, it's more likely to entice them to try smoking. A paper in early 2002 stated that children who are not restricted from watching R-rated movies are three times more likely to smoke or drink alcohol compared to those who are never allowed to watch them. Another study, published in December 2002, found that a surprising number of young teenagers are watching extremely violent movies.

Dartmouth College

Related Smoking Articles from Brightsurf:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.

What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.

Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.

Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.

Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.

A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.

A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.

Read More: Smoking News and Smoking Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to