Intended for healthcare professionals

Papers

Effect of seeing tobacco use in films on trying smoking among adolescents: cross sectional study

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7326.1394 (Published 15 December 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1394

Confounding factors when asserting that viewing smoking in films encourages adolescents to smoke

I may only be a 2nd year medical student, but I've seen enough
evidence-based medicine examples over the previous year to be able to spot
when I think somebody is jumping to the wrong conclusion when interpreting
data.

In the article that asserts that adolescents who saw more incidents
of smoking in films were more likely to start the habit, the author backed
this up by saying that there was a higher incidence of smoking uptake in
adolescents who had seen more incidences of smoking in the time period.
However, I would like to suggest that this merely reflects the fact that
adolesecent smokers socialize a lot in public, due to smoking bans in home
(by parents), so this increased social interaction leads them to become
the sort of people who are more likely to go to the cinema more often, and
thus be exposed to a greater number of incidences of smoking.

In conclusion, I am suggesting that it is not the films that
encourage people to take up smoking, rather smoking that encourages
people to go out to the cinema more and socialize.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 December 2001
Richard Hutchinson
medical student
Imperial College