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AAP: Onscreen Smoking Seen As Threat to Adolescents

Researchers say it's primarily responsible for recruiting up to half of new teen smokers

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Tobacco use in movies and videos is a graver threat to children's health than violent video games and Internet predators, according to an Oct. 9 presentation at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta.

James Sargent, M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., and Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., of the University of California San Francisco, discussed three major population studies conducted between 1999 and 2004.

The researchers found a dramatic dose-response by adolescents to on-screen smoking in movies and videos, and calculated that such exposure is primarily responsible for recruiting up to one-half of new teen smokers, approximately 390,000 per year.

To reduce the influence of movies and videos, the researchers launched the "Smoke-Free Movies" campaign, which urges an R-rating for new movies with on-screen smoking and the screening of anti-smoking messages before films featuring tobacco use. The American Academy of Pediatrics is among the organizations that endorse the R-rating strategy.

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