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Film smoking encourages teens

20th September 2011
Researchers at Bristol University have suggested that teenagers may start smoking because they watch films where the characters smoke.

teenagesmoking1
The researchers interviewed 5,000 15-year-old teenagers and asked them which of the most popular 360 US films released between 2001-2005 they had seen.
They found that teenagers who watched the highest number of films where smoking was depicted - such as Spiderman and The Matrix - had 73% more likelihood of having tried smoking than those teenagers who had seen the least.

Teenagers who watched the highest number of smoking-related films were also 50% more likely to be a regular smoker.

Dr Andrea Waylen, who led the research, said: "We saw a linear relationship between adolescent smoking and the number of films they had seen depicting smoking."

The researchers then reviewed their original research with the knowledge that teen smoking is also affected by social factors, such as whether parents or friends smoke.

They found teenagers still had 32% more likelihood of trying cigarettes if they'd watched the highest number of films where smoking was featured.

David Cooke, director of the BBFC, said: "Smoking is a major public health issue and we consulted the public very extensively on it in 2005 and 2009. Their clear expectation is that we should be vigilant, sensible and proportionate in how we deal with the issue."

"Glamorising smoking has therefore been included as a classification issue in our published classification guidelines and we frequently use our extended classification information to draw the attention of parents and others to depictions of smoking in films."

 

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