Movies Influence Smoking by Mexican-Americans

Mexican-American adolescents are more likely to experiment with cigarettes if they have been heavily exposed to movie scenes of smoking, according to researchers.

The Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 4 that a study of 1,286 Mexican-American youth found that only 5 percent of those who were minimally exposed to movie smoking experimented with cigarettes themselves. However, 30 percent of young Mexican-Americans experimented with smoking if they had viewed up to 600 scenes depicting cigarette use.

Youth who had been born in Mexico were more likely to be influenced by movie smoking scenes, researchers noted, as were those considered risk-takers, youths with higher anxiety levels, and those who lived with smokers.

“Parents need to limit their adolescents' access to R-rated movies, which research has shown have the most depictions of smoking,” said lead study author Anna Wilkinson of the University of Texas' M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The study appears in the December 2009 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

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