Watching movie stars light up on screen is the biggest single factor in influencing teenagers to smoke, suggests a new US study.



Adolescents who had never smoked were almost three times more likely to then take up the habit if they had watched films packed with smoking scenes, compared to their peers who had seen films with the least amount of on-screen smoking.



“There was a tremendous impact,” says research leader Madeline Dalton, at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire. “Movies were the strongest predictor of who would go on to smoke – stronger than peers smoking, family smoking, or the personality of the child.”



“We know from past studies it’s very rare for smoking to be portrayed in a negative light. Smokers [in movies] tend to be tough guys or sexy, rebellious women – which appeal to adolescents.”
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