Depictions of Smoking in Movies Increased in 2016, Probably Corrupting the Youth

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According to a new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depictions of tobacco use in top-grossing movies increased by a whopping 80 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Even though the number of tobacco use incidents (defined as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah, smokeless tobacco products, and electronic cigarettes) declined from 2005 to 2010, the decline stopped after 2010. Sixty-seven percent of top-grossing, R-rated movies in 2016 had tobacco use in it, while 26 percent of “youth-rated” movies (G, PG, PG-13) had some in it.


Naturally, people are worried that by showing audiences more depictions of cool, hot young people smoking cancer sticks, they could be more at risk to start smoking themselves. “We’ve known for a while that the more you see smoking on screen, the more likely you are to see youth smoking cigarettes in real life,” author of the report and public health analyst for the CDC told CNN. A 2012 report from the U.S. surgeon general confirmed the casual relationship between depictions in movies to influence on young people, writing that “further efforts to decrease depictions of smoking in the movies is warranted.”

If you are scared that your kid is going to watch Jackie and suddenly want to buy a pack of Marlboros (which, honestly, warranted) actually assigns ratings to movies based on how much smoking is in it. So if you’re wondering if any of the Cars vape in Cars 3 the answer is, unfortunately, no.

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Hazel Cills

Pop Culture Reporter, Jezebel