Dramatic Spike of Smoking Scenes Found in Current Youth Films: UCSF Study

In today’s film industry, smoking is hidden beyond the obvious cigar or cigarette

While past decades have battled cigarette companies targeting young adults, visibility is sneaking back into cinemas.

A study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco found that almost half of current movies with tobacco references have been deemed acceptable for children. This includes films rated G, PG and PG-13.

In 2012, researchers with the Surgeon General of the United States concluded that youth who watch movies that refer to tobacco are “two to three times as likely to begin smoking” in comparison to those who have minimal contact.

In today’s film industry, smoking is hidden beyond the obvious cigar or cigarette. The study had to include a number of other popular devices such as pipes, electronic cigarettes and hookah.

Although smoking is found in a large portion of movies, a more detailed account can be seen when breaking the films down by rating. Luckily for worried parents of smaller children, on-screen tobacco in G and PG movies has dropped 87 percent since 1991. Yet this victory is short-lived. PG-13 films saw a 43 percent jump when it comes to showing tobacco use and R-rated movies witnessed a 90 percent rise since the 1990s.

The university’s research did not include movies found on DVDs, television or streaming platforms like Netflix.

UCSF and its other research partners are hoping these findings will push for stricter ratings within the film industry.

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