Here’s what might be causing your kids to smoke
There are many known factors which can put children at risk to become smokers, such as whether a parent smokes, socioeconomic status, knowledge of the harms of smoking and attitudes towards risk taking.
However, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that no matter these risk factors, adolescents who see smoking on screen frequently are still two times as likely to be smokers.
More influential than peer pressure and even tobacco advertising, the CDC says it’s “the largest single stimulus,” with one out of every four “youth-rated” (G, PG, PG-13) movies depicting tobacco use.
While the study states youth-rated movies increased to 74 percent smoke free, still six of every ten movies rated PG-13 have smoking in them. Furthermore, nearly half of the top-grossing movies in the U.S. are PG-13.
To help combat the issue, the CDC is advocating for a new policy where smoking would be prohibited from all movies rated for kids. They estimate this policy could save around one million young people who are alive today and have the potential to die from tobacco-related diseases.
“Only recently has smoking no longer been ruled as the leading cause of preventable deaths in America,” says Dr. Tabassum Hanif, a pulmonologist at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. “This study should remind us of the dangers of smoking and the many ways we should continue to discourage this behavior.”
While there have been no new and immediate changes to rules and regulations regarding the showing of tobacco products in film and television yet, Dr. Hanif encourages parents to continue reminding their children of the harms of smoking.
“There are 250 chemicals in cigarettes that are known to be harmful, and 69 of them can cause cancer,” says Dr. Hanif. “Smoking can harm nearly every organ in the body.”
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