British researchers: smoking in movies is as bad for kids as sex and violence

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This just in: smoking is as bad for your impressionable kids as onscreen sex and violence. The U.K. Centre for Tobacco Control Studies is calling for an automatic 18 certificate (like a British R) for films featuring smoking, citing a study which found that fifteen-year-olds who saw the most movies with smoking were seventy-three percent more likely to have tried it themselves than those who saw the fewest.

The study's 5,000 respondents were asked if they had seen fifty randomly selected box-office hits from between 2001 and 2005. The teens who had seen the most films with smoking scenes were not only more likely to have smoked, but were fifty percent more likely to be full-fledged smokers than those who had seen the fewest.

The British Board of Film Classification says it has no plans to change the ratings system, since the current guidelines are "proportionate… and reflect the clear wishes of the public." Plus, have these researchers ever seen a modern movie featuring smoking? The characters with the nicotine habit are basically always horrifying human beings, like Hans Gruber or Bridget Jones. And yes, there's been a study on that, too.