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Meals & nutrition

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Parker Robinson
Parker Robinson

Pacino Teen UPD

Now pressure is mounting to douse those cigarettes and cigars in movies directly marketed to children. For the first time, antismoking activists can point to a national study - released earlier this month - that links on-screen smoking to tobacco use among teens. The findings suggest that for every 10 teens who try tobacco products, four were influenced by movies.

pacino teen

For the new study, researchers randomly surveyed more than 6,500 adolescents ages 10 to 14. They report their findings in Pediatrics, a journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The teens who watched the most movies that featured smoking were 2.6 times more likely to try smoking than other adolescents, even after researchers adjusted their statistics to account for other possible factors, such as tobacco use by relatives and friends.

The research doesn't definitively confirm a cause-and-effect relationship between movie smoking and teen smoking, said study coauthor James Sargent, a professor at Dartmouth Medical School. Even so, there's still a "strong association."

But in many cases, it doesn't matter if a tobacco-using character is malevolent, says Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of American Legacy Foundation, an antismoking advocacy group. Many teens who think about smoking are "rule-breakers and boundary pushers," she says. "The bad guys appeal to them." 041b061a72

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