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Study: Kids impacted by less smoking on TV, in movies

LOS ANGELES - A number of studies have established that kids who witness smoking - at home, on television or in the movies - are more likely to take up smoking. That's why many public-health and anti-smoking groups have sought to reduce images of smoking on TV and in movies. Their efforts appear to be working.

A study released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, after a peak in 2005, the number of on-screen smoking depictions in U.S. movies declined 51 percent. Yet almost half of the 10 top-grossing movies in 2009 contained tobacco imagery, including 54 percent of PG-13 movies.

The study, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, was led by Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco.

Several major studies have adopted policies to monitor and curb smoking content in youth-rated movies. Last year, according to the study, Paramount scored a first by having zero depictions of tobacco use in its youth-rated movies.

But more needs to be done to pry kids' eyes off smokers, say the study authors. One of the proposals is to assign R ratings to any movie that portrays smoking. - Los Angeles Times

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