Smoking by famous actors influences teenage fans



Tuesday 27 February 2001

Embargo: 00:01 Tues 27 February 2001

The on-screen smoking of famous actors such as Leonardo Di Caprio, Sharon Stone and John Travolta influences smoking among their teenage fans. A new study[1] published today shows that adolescents that smoke are more likely to have favourite actors that smoke on screen. The finding supports the argument that smoking in films by stars admired by teenagers contributes to teenage smoking.

Clive Bates, Director of ASH, said:

<spanstyle=’font-family:arial;’>“We don’t want to censor directors and actors by banning smoking in films by law, but we do call on them to recognise the impact they have on their young fans and think about harm they are doing. Hollywood megastars can find the best support in the world to stop smoking if they want, but for young fans the influence of their favourite actors could be the start of a lifetime struggle with nicotine addiction.

<spanstyle=’font-family:arial;’>“These teenagers may be copying their favourite movie star’s smoking or whether they choose to be fans of stars that make them feel comfortable about smoking, but either way. it suggests that smoking on screen nurtures and sustains smoking among teenage movie fans and everybody should be worried about that.”

In the light of the study, ASH has written to the British Board of Film Classification:

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The new study follows recent findings published in The Lancet [2] about the impact of product placement in films in which tobacco manufacturers pay to have their products featured or for actors to smoke.

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 Notes

[1] Tickle J. et al, Favourite movie stars, their tobacco use in contemporary movies, and its association with adolescent smoking. Tobacco Control 2001; 10: 16-22

[2] See