London: A new UK research has suggested that teenagers who watch films depicting smoking are more likely to pick up the habit.
Bristol University investigators, who made the link by questioning 5,000 15-year-olds, said their findings should prompt a change in film certification so that under-18s are no longer exposed to such images, the BBC reported.
However, pro-smoking choice campaigners say this is unjustified and nonsensical.
They say there is no proof that what a person views at the cinema or on DVD influences their decision about whether or not to smoke.
The latest research looked at the potential influence of some of the 360 top US box office films released between 2001 and 2005, including movies like ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Bridget Jones’ and ‘The Matrix’, that depict smoking.
They found adolescents who saw the most films depicting smoking were 73 percent more likely to have tried a cigarette than those exposed to the least.
And they were 50 percent more likely to be a current smoker.
“We saw a linear relationship between adolescent smoking and the number of films they had seen depicting smoking,” said Dr Andrea Waylen, who led the research.