Monday, January 4, 2010

Smoking in Movies

Perhaps over the holiday break you, like millions of other people, went to see a movie. If you went to see Avatar, you undoubtedly noted that despite being a futuristic movie with the latest in technology-Sigourney Weaver is smoking in the movie!
It seems that the filmmakers don't see a tobacco-free future...
In California there has been significant progressive towards de-normalizing smoking by not showing famous actors in movies lighting up. Perhaps you are like me, who at first wasn't entirely convinced about this whole smoking in movies leading to increased smoking n young people. Once I began getting friendly with the research and data, it became clear. Big Tobacco is a smart one and they know the research and facts too. They know product placements and smoking in movies sells move of their product. 

Most of the advocacy work in this area has been through a group called Smoke-Free Movies. If you hop over to Smoke-Free Movies you will see industry documents and the impact of smoking in movies. Quite simply smoking in movies is a highly effective method which promotes the initiation of smoking amongst young people:
Exposure to depictions of smoking in movies is associated with more favorable attitudes toward smoking and characters who smoke, and these positive views are particularly prevalent among youth who themselves smoke.
Exposure to smoking in movies increases the risk for smoking initiation. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies provide clear support that youth report greater susceptibility and intentions to smoke and are more likely to actually try smoking following exposure to smoking in the movies and on television. Furthermore, even after controlling for other factors known to be associated with adolescent smoking intention and tobacco use, studies show a clear dose effect, whereby greater exposure to smoking in the movies is associated with a greater chance of smoking.
The increased risk for smoking initiation as a result of exposure to smoking in the movies can be reduced by antismoking advertisements and parental restriction of which movies their children watch. (Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences conclusions)
Before you go out for your next movie, decide what type of influence you would want that movie to have on your kids. If you don't want your kids lighting up, head over to Smoke-Free Movies and see which films are completely smoke-free!

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