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Movies impact teen smoking

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NEW YORK, Jun 10, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Teens are more likely to start smoking if they watch movies featuring stars who smoke cigarettes, according to a study in the Lancet.

In addition, teens whose parents don't smoke are the most likely to be swayed by actors lighting up onscreen.

According to the study, teens who watched the most movies with smoking were nearly three times more likely to start smoking than those who watched fewer movies with smoking.

"The study provides the strongest evidence to date that smoking in movies encourages adolescents to start smoking," Madeline Dalton of the Dartmouth Medical School and lead author on the study, told The New York Times.

She said she was surprised by the strength of the connection between movies and teen smoking, which she found to be a stronger influence on behavior than even peer smoking.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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