Risk of R rating would force teen movies to cut smoking scenes, study says

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 16, 2012

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Requiring movies that depict smoking to be rated R would significantly reduce adolescent smoking, says a Pediatrics study published online July 9. Physicians and others also should encourage parents to restrict children from watching R-rated movies to reduce their chances of being influenced to smoke, said the study (link).

Researchers conducted phone surveys over two years with 6,522 U.S. youths ages 10 to 14. Respondents were asked whether they had smoked and which top-grossing movies they had seen in the past year. Study authors then tabulated how many times they had seen actors smoke.

The study found a strong correlation between smoking in PG-13 movies and youth smoking. Smoking in R-rated movies also was linked to youth smoking, but fewer respondents watched those movies. Researchers estimate 60% of adolescents’ exposure to smoking on the big screen is from movies rated PG-13 or lower. Requiring an R rating would force filmmakers targeting youth to exclude smoking scenes, the study said.

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