Association of Established Smoking Among Adolescents With Timing of Exposure to Smoking Depicted in Movies

Primack, Brian A.; Longacre, Meghan R.; Beach, Michael L.; Adachi-Mejia, Anna M.; Titus, Linda J.; Dalton, Madeline A.
April 2012
JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute;Apr2012, Vol. 104 Issue 7, p549
Academic Journal
Background It is not known whether exposure to smoking depicted in movies carries greater influence during early or late adolescence. We aimed to quantify the independent relative contribution to established smoking of exposure to smoking depicted in movies during both early and late adolescence. Methods We prospectively assessed 2049 nonsmoking students recruited from 14 randomly selected public schools in New Hampshire and Vermont. At baseline enrollment, students aged 10–14 years completed a written survey to determine personal, family, and sociodemographic characteristics and exposure to depictions of smoking in the movies (early exposure). Seven years later, we conducted follow-up telephone interviews to ascertain follow-up exposure to movie smoking (late exposure) and smoking behavior. We used multiple regression models to assess associations between early and late exposure and development of established smoking. Results One-sixth (17.3%) of the sample progressed to established smoking. In analyses that controlled for covariates and included early and late exposure in the same model, we found that students in the highest quartile for early exposure had 73% greater risk of established smoking than those in the lowest quartile for early exposure (27.8% vs 8.6%; relative risk for Q4 vs Q1 = 1.73, 95% confidence interval = 1.14 to 2.62). However, late exposure to depictions of smoking in movies was not statistically significantly associated with established smoking (22.1% vs 14.0%; relative risk for Q4 vs Q1 = 1.13, 95% confidence interval = 0.89 to 1.44). Whereas 31.6% of established smoking was attributable to early exposure, only an additional 5.3% was attributable to late exposure. Conclusions Early exposure to smoking depicted in movies is associated with established smoking among adolescents. Educational and policy-related interventions should focus on minimizing early exposure to smoking depicted in movies.


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