Does glamorizing smoking in movies impact smoking rates?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
It blows me away every time I see a great-looking movie actor smoking on the big screen. Filmmakers think that a cigarette in a star's hand develops a character, but I think it just develops more smokers. Kids who watch movies featuring smokers are 2-3 times more likely to begin smoking. One study noted that in 2009, 1,935 smoking incidents were found among the top 10 grossing films that year. This number is way down from the peak of 3,967 in 2005, but that's still a lot of movies with tobacco images (including those rated PG-13). If you want to prevent your kids from seeing their idols lighting up, you might want to suss out the smoking images in movies before taking the family to the theater.
Irwin Isaacs
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine

It used to be in all these movies they had people smoking and if you notice they are not really doing that now.  I think that the glamorizing of smoking is gone from movies and you don't see advertisements for it. I think that it does increase smoking rates and that is why you don't see it very often in movies anymore.  Smoking is not glamorous but only hurts your health.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Absolutely.  Smoking rates go up after kids see cigarettes used in movies.  Especially, this is actually race-related, with Hispanic kids and Caucasian kids being more sensitive to this glamorizing than African-American children.  We should thank Disney for eliminating smoking in their movies - it is one of the effects of good contacts where the CEO, Toby Cosgrove, M.D., spoke to the CEO of Disney - Bob Iger, and after a persuasive argument, Bob Iger got Disney to ban smoking in its movies.  I hope that is still true under different management.
Joseph I. Miller Jr., MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Smoking in movies dramatically increases smoking especially among people under the age of 18.

Continue Learning about Quit Smoking

Is Vaping Endangering Teens?
Is Vaping Endangering Teens?
J-e-w-e-l can be the name of an award-winning singer/songwriter or precious gem. But J-U-U-L has created something much more sinister: An e-cig the si...
Read More
Can I smoke before a kidney transplant?
Methodist Specialty and Transplant HospitalMethodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital
Before a kidney transplant it is important that you stop smoking, whether you will be receiving a li...
More Answers
Kicking Butts: 50 Years of Progress
Kicking Butts: 50 Years of ProgressKicking Butts: 50 Years of ProgressKicking Butts: 50 Years of ProgressKicking Butts: 50 Years of Progress
Take a look at 10 anti-smoking milestones since the first Surgeon General’s report.
Start Slideshow
Want to Quit Smoking? See the Doctor First
Want to Quit Smoking? See the Doctor First

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.