Most parents know about protecting their kids from X-rated language and images on the Internet and in movies, but should they also be worried about protecting them from movies where people smoke cigarettes?
Researchers say that when it comes to smoking, life imitates art. A new study published this month in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine tracked more than 6,500 kids between the ages of 10 and 14, over a two-year period. Dartmouth researchers say young people who had the greatest exposure to smoking scenes are twice as likely to become "established" smokers.
"Movies are the single largest influence getting kids to smoke today, more powerful even than parenting role models and even cigarette advertising," Professor Stanton Glantz, of the Medical School at the University Of California, San Francisco, told CBS correspondent Jeff Glor.
The study lit a fire under anti-smoking advocates many of whom believe there is a simple solution: all movies with smoking should be rated R.
"I think Hollywood is smart enough and creative enough to make good movies that they're selling to kids without promoting tobacco," Glanz said.
Although Glantz says that number could be cut in half if those movies are given an R rating, not everyone is blaming Hollywood.
"It's the same thing as if you say, 'Oh, you let kids play video games and they'll become violent.' I don't believe that," movie-goer Susanne Vogel said. "I believe every person has their own particular choice."
The Motion Picture Association of America announced new rules this year. Smoking will now be considered a factor when they rate movies. However, smoking won't guarantee an R rating.
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