Ad 63

Publication(s): 
Variety
Date of first publication: 
2009-09-01T00:00:00
Headline: 
Surprising news about black hats and smoking.
Text: 
Surprising news about black hats and smoking. Guys in white hats. Guys in black hats. Which ones recruit the most kids to smoke? Researchers who followed the movie-viewing and smoking behavior of more than 4,500 American teens for two years discovered that episodes of bad guys smoking exerted a heavier influence on young viewers to smoke than episodes of good guys smoking. Bad guys in a movie were also more likely to smoke than good guys were. But the good guys outnumbered the bad guys, by nearly 5 to 1. Most on-screen smokers turned out to be good guys. Overall, considering teens’ higher exposure to good guy smokers but stronger influence from bad guy smokers, white hats and black hats are about equally responsible for addicting kids. These results may be surprising. After all, you work hard to create vivid, original characters. Why should a single detail — smoking — leave a deeper mark on kids’ lives than the story you wanted to tell? Of course, if you can easily imagine how both good guys and bad guys can attract 15-year-olds to smoke, you’re probably a pretty good filmmaker. Instead of using your imagination to put smoking in a movie, use it to keep smoking out of youth-rated films entirely. Not a bad day’s work, avoiding cliché. Read the full study on good guy-bad-guy smoking, published in Pediatrics this summer: www.SmokeFreeMovies.ucsf.edu/character_study
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