Kids See More Alcohol, Less Tobacco In Movies [Study]

Kids see more alcohol and less tobacco in today’s movies, according to a new study.

The folks at JAMA Pediatrics took a look at approximately 1,400 Hollywood films released between 1996 and 2009. Researchers found that there are considerably fewer tobacco ads in modern movies than there were in the past. However, the amount of on-screen booze has increased quite a bit.

According to The Fix, the study revealed that the appearance of smoking, cigarettes, or tobacco products decreased considerably during that period of time. This is likely due to the Master Settlement Agreement in 1998, which forced the industry to cut back on how aggressively it promoted these products.

The same thing cannot be said for the amount of alcohol found on the big screen. Unlike the tobacco industry, nobody is telling booze peddlers to limit advertising in major motion pictures. Although tobacco appearances dropped by 42.3 in youth-oriented movies and 85.2 percent in adult flicks, on-screen alcohol consumption continued to rise.

In fact, Time is reporting that the amount of booze in youth-rated movies jumped from 80 to 145 each year. The study also suggests that this could ultimately lead to an increase of kids hitting the bottle.

The researchers summarized:

“This study found dramatic declines in brand appearances for tobacco after such placements were prohibited by an externally monitored and enforced regulatory structure, even though such activity had already been prohibited in the self-regulatory structure a decade before. During the same period, alcohol brand placements, subject only to self-regulation, increased significantly in movies rated acceptable for youth audiences, a trend that could have implications for teen drinking.”

Several European countries conducted a study in 2012 that suggested on-screen alcohol consumption may cause teenagers to binge drink. However, the study couldn’t confirm that this was actually the case.

How do parents prevent their kids from mimicking what they see in movies? According to researchers, it’s all about quality time. It’s suggested that parents watch movies with their children and have conversations about what they’ve encountered on-screen.

What do you think about the lack of tobacco use in modern movies? Are you surprised that alcohol consumption has increased in youth-oriented movies?