Aim: The aim of this study was to examine whether smoking in movies can predict established smoking in adolescence.
Methods: A longitudinal study was conducted over a period of 13 months with 4112 German students. Adolescents' exposure to smoking in movies was assessed by asking each student to indicate which film he or she had seen from a unique list of 50 movies, which was randomly selected for each individual survey from a sample of 398 popular contemporary movies. We calculated exposure to movie smoking for each respondent by summing the number of smoking occurrences for each movie that the respondent reported seeing.
Results: At follow-up, a total of 272 young people had smoked more than 100 cigarettes during their lifetime. While 2.1% of the young people with the lowest exposure to movie smoking initiated established smoking, 13.4% of the group with the highest exposure to movie smoking initiated established smoking. The adjusted relative risk of initiation of established smoking was 2.05 times higher in the group with the highest movie smoking exposure compared to the group with the lowest exposure (95% confidence interval: 1.25-3.35).
Conclusion: Our data indicate that smoking in movies can be regarded as an independent risk factor for the initiation of established smoking in adolescence.
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.