An examination of the association between seeing smoking in films and tobacco use in young adults in the west of Scotland: cross-sectional study

Health Educ Res. 2009 Feb;24(1):22-31. doi: 10.1093/her/cym082. Epub 2008 Jan 17.


The objective is to examine the association between the amount of smoking seen in films and current smoking in young adults living in the west of Scotland in the UK. Cross-sectional analyses (using multivariable logistic regression) of data collected at age 19 (2002-04) from a longitudinal cohort originally surveyed at age 11 (1994-95) were conducted. The main outcome measure is smoking at age 19. No association was found between the number of occurrences of smoking estimated to have been seen in films (film smoking exposure) and current (or ever) smoking in young adults. This lack of association was unaffected by adjustment for predictors of smoking, including education, risk-taking orientation and smoking among peers. There was no association between film smoking exposure and smoking behaviour for any covariate-defined subgroup. Associations have been found between film smoking exposure and smoking initiation in younger adolescents in the United States. In this study, conducted in Scotland, no similar association was seen, suggesting that there may be age or cultural limitations on the effects of film smoking exposure on smoking. The lack of association could be due to methodological issues or greater sophistication of older adolescents and young adults in interpreting media images or the greater ubiquity of real-life smoking instances in Scotland. If the latter, film smoking exposure could become a more important risk factor for smoking uptake and maintenants in older adolescents following the recent ban on smoking in public places in Scotland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Motion Pictures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Parents
  • Peer Group
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Scotland
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors