Smoking in films may encourage kids to light up

A new study conducted by the Geisei School of Medicine in New Hampshire, U.S., has made implications that those children who watch a high number of films where the characters are smoking, are likely to start the habit themselves.

Lead author James Sargent, says that it is probably just the characters actually smoking that could influence young wayward minds into copying them, and not any other factors in the film such as violence, swearing, or sex.

He says, “Movie smoking seems to be just as impactful if it’s packaged in a PG-13 movie as opposed to an R movie. I really think it’s a ‘cool’ factor. The more they see it, the more they start to see ways that might make them seem more movie star.”

Sargent and co-authors are arguing that all films that depict smoking characters should immediately receive an R rating. They say this will help to hopefully reduce the number of teenagers who begin smoking. The habit carries a massive number of risks to a person’s health as we explained in great detail last month, and a few recent studies have linked smoking to both skin cancer and cognitive decline.

The researchers came about their conclusions after first quizzing over 6,000 U.S. children aged 10 to 14. After undergoing the painstaking task of counting how many times characters were seen smoking during 500 box-office films from recent times, they then randomly selected 50 films for each child and asked if they had watched that film.

They calculated that for every 500 smoking scenes viewed by children within PG-13 films, their chances of smoking increased by roughly 33 to 49%. As more kids usually will see more PG-13 films, the lower 33% increase of them starting smoking in regards to R-rated films was not deemed statistically significant. Sargent and his team believe that if films with smoking were automatically given an R-rating then this would result in an 18% decrease in the number of youngsters who try cigarettes.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), are responsible for the assigning of film ratings in the North America. Vice President Howard Gantman, shed some light on how a film comes to receive its rating and said, “The rating system does not tell filmmakers what to put in their films; it merely gives information about the level of content in each film and describes the elements that reach the level of the rating, so that parents can make choices for their children.”

Although smoking in films may subconsciously persuade kids to pick up the habit to some degree, you could argue that if the same film includes violence then this would also encourage them to show aggressive acts of violence too, and this is unlikely. More realistically it is parents or guardians who smoke that have a much bigger impact on the impressionable youths of today.

As well as the risk of children copying their parents eventually and starting to smoke, as we have previously reported tobacco smoke exposure puts children at a danger of developing lung conditions such as asthma or chronic pulmonary disorder. If you are a concerned parent and worried about the effects your smoking will have on your children, Medical Specialists Pharmacy is ready to help you. Champix is a prescription medication that mimics the effect of nicotine on the body, reducing the urge to smoke and relieving withdrawal symptoms. It can also decrease the enjoyment you experience of smoking if you are still smoking whilst on the treatment. Studies have shown 44% of smokers who used champix on a daily basis where able to quit smoking. Prices start from as little as £75.00 per pack.

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