PHILADELPHIA Mexican-American adolescents exposed to cigarette smoking scenes in movies are more likely to pick up the habit themselves, and this may be part of the acculturation process associated with smoking initiation, according to new study findings.
"Our study supports an R-rating for smoking in the United States and highlights the global implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which includes guidelines for countries to restrict youth access to movies with smoking by using their movie ratings systems," said researcher Anna Wilkinson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Details of these results are published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, as part of a special focus on tobacco in the December issue.
Evidence to date has indicated that adolescents are influenced to start smoking cigarettes based on their level of exposure to cigarette smoking by the characters that actors and actresses portray in movies.
Wilkinson, along with James Sargent, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School and co-director of the Cancer Control Research Program at Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and colleagues evaluated whether images seen in the movies influence Mexican-American adolescents to experiment with smoking.
They followed 1,328 adolescents aged 11 to 13 years over four years and assessed which of the 50 movies randomly selected from a pool of popular movies featured between 1999 and 2004 were viewed by the participants. The researchers also evaluated whether acculturation plays a role in the relationship between exposure to smoking by characters in the movies and experimenting with smoking in these Mexican-American households.
While 10 percent of the adolescents experimented with smokin
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American Association for Cancer Research