-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- More movies approved for
young viewers are showing alcohol brands, a trend that could
influence teen drinking, researchers say.
Children's exposure to movie imagery of tobacco and alcohol has
been linked to smoking and drinking at a younger age, heavier
drinking and alcohol abuse, said the researchers from Dartmouth
University Geisel School of Medicine.
Still, some good news emerged from their study: Fewer movies
intended for young audiences show tobacco brands.
The researchers determined tobacco-brand exposure dropped
significantly after they examined 1,400 films produced after the
Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement took effect in 1998. That
agreement, between major tobacco manufacturers and most of the
United States, changed the way tobacco products were marketed and
provided for funding of anti-smoking campaigns by tobacco
For the study, published online May 27 in
JAMA Pediatrics, the research team analyzed the top 100
box-office movie hits released in the United States from 1996 to
Tobacco brand product appearances declined by 7 percent each
year until 2006, the study found. From then on these placements
remained stable at 22 per year. The Master Settlement Agreement
also led to a 42 percent decrease in tobacco screen time for
youth-rated movies and an 85 percent drop for films intended for an
Alcohol placements, on the other hand, are self-regulated by the
industry. The study showed these product placements have increased
from 80 to 145 each year in movies rated acceptable for young
viewers. This represented an increase of 5.2 appearances annually
from 1996 to 2009, the researchers noted.
"In summary, 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," the study's authors wrote in a journal news release.
"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," they said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides more information on
the link between
alcohol in movies and teenage drinking.
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