Teens will copy actors who smoke – Study

A new study by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control shows that 15 year olds are 73% more likely to have taken a cigarette after watching films where actors smoke.

Smoking in film

The impact cigarettes have on younger generations is creating a hidden epidemic and their appearance in films with a 15 rating or below is currently normal. With over 6 million people dying each year from the dire effects of smoking around the world, is it not time to adjust film ratings to reduce their ‘glorification’?

Smoking is particularly popular in movies because it forms characters, and it is used as a visual tool as well to create mystery, a sense of danger/unease, or a silent pause. Whatever the reason, it is currently uncensored and filmmakers are free to portray smoking in any fashion. But, what effect does this have with young people who see their favourite actors puffing a cigar or cigarette and looking ‘cool’? Is this not imitatable? If everyone is doing it, won’t everyone else?

Although characters that smoke in movies are not promoting or advocating smoking, their very presence makes it almost normal, or expected. It is part of onscreen culture, and there is currently no guideline on how to tackle it. During times of economic hardship for many, the addiction of a cigerette will burn through your wallet, and eventually your lungs too.

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