Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School asked 6,522 children aged 10 to 14 to identify films they had seen from a list of 50 randomly selected box office hits released in the United States from 1998 to 2000. Even after considering other factors known to influence smoking, the study found that adolescents with the highest exposure to movie smoking were 2.6 times more likely to try it compared to those with the lowest exposure. Of every 100 adolescents who tried smoking, 38 did so because they saw smoking portrayed in movies, said the report published in the November issue of "Pediatrics," the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.I'd be interested in knowing if the kids watched those films with their parents. Would the company of proactive parents willing to discuss how smoking is protrayed make a difference? I certainly hope so. Of course, that only works if our teens want to watch movies with us. But who'd want to watch movies with people who sniff and make condemning remarks about content your peers think is hilarious? Let's be sparing with our critical comments, boomers, so that we earn the right to say something like, "I wonder why all the people I like in this movie are smoking." And then, let's hope the conversation continues.
A recent Dartmough Medical School Study reveals a link between films and teen smoking: