General Article The impact of smoking in films on young people

Topic Selected: Smoking and Health
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There is a growing body of evidence from studies in the UK, the USA and elsewhere which shows that exposing young audiences to on-screen smoking and tobacco imagery has a strong impact on smoking initiation.

A study of ten- to 14-year-olds that had never smoked found that those most exposed to film smoking were more than four times more likely to take up smoking than those with least exposure. Other findings have revealed that adolescents whose favourite film stars smoke on screen are more likely to have tried smoking.

For young people there is no safe level of exposure to on-screen smoking and health experts across the globe are calling for more to be done to reduce or eliminate youth exposure to on-screen smoking to reduce smoking levels amongst young people.


Examples of tobacco imagery in films popular in the UK

  • Glenn Close playing Cruella de Vil in the popular children’s film 101 Dalmatians (1996) (BBFC Universal)
  • Sigourney Weaver playing grace in the pop...

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