Research Summary: Movie Smoking and Youth Initiation: Parsing Smoking Imagery and Other Adult Content



To isolate the independent influence of exposure to smoking and other adult content in the movies on youth smoking uptake.


We used discrete time survival analysis to quantify the influence of exposure to smoking and other adult content in the movies on transitioning from (1) closed to open to smoking; (2) never to ever trying smoking; and (3) never to ever hitting, slapping, or shoving someone on two or more occasions in the past 30 days. The latter is a comparative outcome, hypothesized to have no correlation with exposure to smoking in the movies.


Assessed separately, both exposure to smoking imagery and exposure to adult content were associated with increased likelihood of youth becoming open to smoking (OR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.04–1.15 and OR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.04–1.17) and having tried smoking (OR = 1.06, 95% CI: 1.00–1.12 and OR = 1.06, 95% CI: 1.00–1.13). Both measures were also separately associated with aggressive behavior (OR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.04–1.14 and OR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.04–1.15). A very high correlation between the two measures (0.995, p<0.000) prevented an assessment of their independent effects on smoking initiation.


Although exposure to smoking in the movies is correlated with smoking susceptibility and initiation, the high correlation between exposure to smoking in the movies and other adult content suggests that more research is needed to disentangle their independent influence on smoking.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 14-December-2012

Author(s): Farrelly M., Kamyab K., Nonnemaker J., Crankshaw E., Allen J.


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