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Bad Influence: TV, movies linked to adolescent smoking

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2:17pm, March 7, 2007

White adolescents who watch a lot of R-rated movies are nearly three times as likely to try smoking as are their peers who watch little of such fare, a new study finds. Those who have televisions in their bedrooms are twice as likely to take a puff.

In contrast, black teens' smoking isn't associated with how many R-rated movies or hours of television they watched, researchers report in the March Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

While it might seem unsurprising that television shows and movies—with characters often puffing away—would influence youth smoking, few studies had recorded the effects of such media exposure over time, says study coauthor Christine Jackson, a social ecologist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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