Seeing movie characters smoke cigarettes increases the risk that Mexican-American teens will try smoking, according to a new study that calls for movies with smoking scenes to receive an R-rating.
It followed 1,328 Mexican-American adolescents, aged 11 to 13, for four years and noted the types of movies they viewed.
At the start of the study, 10 percent of the adolescents had experimented with smoking, compared with 17 percent by the end of the study. The more smoking scenes they had seen in movies, the more likely they were to experiment with smoking.
"Exposure to movie smoking predicted smoking onset even after controlling for several established risk factors, like exposure to friends who smoke," study author Anna Wilkinson, an assistant professor in the epidemiology department at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, said in an American Association for Cancer Research news release.
(Movies May Tempt Teens to Smoke. US News. December 3, 2009.)