Once it was glamorous and sexy: a Hollywood siren pulling out a cigarette and a suave man bending over to light it. But that was well before the surgeon general's report on smoking -- well before we knew that smoking is deadly. Or was it?
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health recently analyzed five films featuring 10 popular actresses, including Winona Ryder, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and Demi Moore. Smoking behavior was depicted on-screen 28 percent of the time. Surprisingly, they found that women in lead or supporting roles were more likely to smoke than the men and that the movie characters of both genders smoked more than the general population.
Adults probably understand that smoking is just part of a movie role, but teen-agers may not. ''Everything in psychological theory tells us that kids mimic the actions of people they admire,'' said Ichiro Kawachi, one of the researchers. They urged the movie industry to adopt a voluntary code of ethics to eliminate the depiction of smoking in ways that appeal to adolescents.
After all, Bogart and Bacall were just as seductive with a whistle as they were with a cigarette.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.