R rating films might help teens to quit smoking, says a new study. R rating means children under 17 should come along with their parents or guardian to watch the movie.
Researchers from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center have discovered that R rating movies can substantially reduce smoking among teens. After analysing more than 6,500 teens in the US they found that most of the children start smoking after seeing their favourite actors smoke on the big screen.
"Smoking is a killer. Its connection to cancer, heart attacks, and chronic lung disease is beyond doubt. Kids start to smoke before they're old enough to think about the risks; after starting they rapidly become addicted and then regret it. Hollywood plays a role by making smoking look really good," said James Sargent, MD, co-director of the Cancer Control Research Programme at Norris Cotton Cancer Center, in a statement.
"By eliminating smoking in movies marketed to youth, an R rating for smoking would dramatically reduce exposure and lower adolescent smoking by as much as one-fifth," he added.
Researchers had enrolled 6,522 US adolescents in a longitudinal survey conducted at eight-month intervals.
During the survey, researchers asked a group of teens about the movies they have recently watched and queried if they have tried smoking after seeing their favourite actor smoke.
Again after a few years the participants were asked the same question. The study revealed that teens who are exposed to PG-13 movies (where they see more cigarette smoking scenes) were persuaded to smoke. This clearly shows that certain PG 13 movies influence teens consume nicotine.
Motion Picture Association of America rates films by content - G/PG, PG-13, and R. G rating movies means the movie is meant for all ages. PG 13 rating means parental guidance is required to watch the movie. Some Material may be Inappropriate for Children under 13.
According to Sargent, the equivalent effect of PG-13-rated and R-rated MSE suggests it is the movie smoking that prompts adolescents to smoke, not other characteristics of R-rated movies or adolescents drawn to them.
"We're just asking the movie industry to take smoking as seriously as they take profanity when applying the R rating,"," said Sargent.
"The benefit to society in terms of reduced healthcare costs and higher quality of life is almost incalculable," he concluded.