A new study has confirmed the often pointed out correlation between the portrayal of actors smoking in movie scenes and the effect it has on younger audiences, especially teenagers and even kids. Youth who are exposed to films where the actors smoke tobacco are significantly more likely to take up smoking than youth who do not view such films. In fact, movie scenes with smokers were found to have increased the likelihood of a young person beginning to smoke by two to three times.
The allure of movie stars or other cool characters in films smoking is so potent that many researchers and experts believe that it is more powerful than the influence of parents, teens or educational material presented to kids at schools or online. This has led to anti-smoking and healthcare groups to call for action to eliminate smoking in films that are rated PG or PG 13. In other words these activists are calling for an elimination of smoking where there are younger audiences watching.
Such a move would indeed help to curb youngsters from picking up the smoking habit. One of the proposals calls for any film with a smoking scene or actor in it to be labeled R or restricted. This would ensure that only adults who are not as impressionable as kids or teens would be exposed to smoking characters during movies. It is unlikely that such a move would take place however.
Getting smoking out of child and teen themed movies is a great idea. It could save millions of lives from dying in the future from smoke related diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema. Taking away cigarette brands and revealing whether tobacco companies paid to have their cigarettes featured in movies can also help cut down on what is essentially tobacco advertising directed at younger audiences.