Does It Really Affect Us?

In an article from PluggedIn.Org, movie studios' increasing reluctance to depict smoking in movies aimed at young audiences has corresponded with a significant drop in smoking among teens, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Specifically, the CDC reports that tobacco use occurred 595 times in 2010 in films with a G, PG or PG-13 rating-a 71.6% drop compared to similarly rated films in 2005. Even more dramatically, depictions of smoking plunged 95.8% in movies from the three studios (Disney, Time Warner, Comcast) with explicit policies against depicting that behavior. 

At the same time, from 2000 to 2009, tobacco use among middle schoolers fell from 15.1% to 8.2%. Among high school students, the percentage fell from 34.5% to 23.9%. CDC researcher Ursula Bauer said of the correlation is obvious, "The more you see [smoking onscreen], the more likely you are to be open to smoking and start smoking." 

Does anyone see a similar relationship with other behaviors shown on the movie screen as well?  Or is it limited to smoking.  How about sex, alcohol, drugs, violence, porn, etc?  Research has shown similar results as the smoking research yet no one is asking the TV and movie studios to cut back on scenes that feature sex, alcohol, drugs, violence, etc.  Why not? Isn't it politically correct?   


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