I read an interesting article this week about smoking in films and the influence this may have on young people choosing whether to smoke or not.
The research published in the Journal Thorax says that adolescents who saw the most films depicting smoking were 73% more likely to have tried a cigarette than those exposed to the least and that this group were 50% more likely to be a current smoker.
The article also acknowledges that smoking attitudes are influenced by factors such as whether an individual's parents and peers smoke, plus social background.
This certainly corresponds with our findings, carried out among Year 9 and 10s across the UK.
At year 9 for example actual non-smoking rates are around 87%, however there are consistently shifts in this reported behaviour when perceived peer abstention rates (usually down at around 50%) are higher.
The movie industry says it is working hard to clean up stereotypes of lead characters and the previous associations of making smoking look cool to audiences.
Rather than continue to lecture young people about the health implications, I wonder if the Government, Local Authorities, Schools and Parents could work harder in promoting to truth to young people about their peers?
Then maybe the illusion of ‘everyone else doing it’ might just become a thing of the past too..
To read the article written by the BBC, click below:
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