Smoking in movies: Impact on European youth and policy options
Smoking remains the single greatest preventable cause of mortality in Europe. Adolescents initiate smoking for
social reasons, and social risk factors include influences such as parent and friend smoking. Tobacco marketing
has also been linked with youth smoking initiation, and this serves as the basis for controls on smoking
marketing contained in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which recognises that a
comprehensive ban on tobacco marketing would reduce consumption.
However, a comprehensive ban on tobacco marketing does not limit other mass media venues from projecting
favourable images of smoking, such as smoking in motion pictures. Movies form an extremely pervasive dimension
of young people’s social environment.
In many cases movies produced in one country are not only distributed in the origin country, but distributed
internationally and presented to a broad audience in many countries. To really address this problem and to
contribute to solve it, activities on an European level are necessary.
The project "Smoking in movies: Impact on European youth and policy options" was conducted between 2009 and 2011
and tried to approach the issue of smoking in movies from an European perspective. It contained three main
- The assessment of smoking in movies released in European countries
- The study of the impact of exposure to smoking in movies on European adolescents
- The formulation of European policy options
Morgenstern M, Poelen EAP, Scholte R, Karlsdottir S, Jonsson SH, Mathis F, Faggiano F, Florek E, Sweeting H,
Hunt K, Sargent JD, Hanewinkel R. Smoking in movies and adolescent smoking: cross-cultural study in six
European countries. Thorax 2011; 66: 875–83.
Morgenstern M, Florek E, Sargent JD, Hanewinkel R. Smoking in Polish movies: Prevalence and adolescent
exposure. Przeglad Lekarski 2011; 68: 653–56.
Hanewinkel R, Sargent JD, Karlsdottir S, Jonsson SH, Mathis F, Faggiano F, Poelen EAP, Scholte R, Florek E,
Sweeting H, Hunt K, Morgenstern M. High youth access to movies that contain smoking in Europe compared with
the USA. Tobacco Control 2013; 22: 241–44.
Millett C, Hanewinkel R, Britton J, Florek E, Faggiano F, Ness A, McKee M, Polansky JR, Glantz SA. European
governments should stop subsidizing films with tobacco imagery. The European Journal of Public Health 2012;
Hanewinkel R, Sargent JD, Poelen EAP, Scholte R, Florek E, Sweeting H, Hunt K, Karlsdottir S, Jonsson SH,
Mathis F, Faggiano F, Morgenstern M. Alcohol Consumption in Movies and Adolescent Binge Drinking in 6
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Morgenstern M, Sargent JD, Engels RCME, Scholte RHJ, Florek E, Hunt K, Sweeting H, Mathis F, Faggiano F,
Hanewinkel R. Smoking in Movies and Adolescent Smoking Initiation. Longitudinal Study in Six European
Countries. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2013; 44: 339–44.
Morgenstern M, Sargent JD, Engels RCME, Florek E, Hanewinkel R. Smoking in European adolescents: Relation
between media influences, family affluence, and migration background. Addictive Behaviors 2013; 38: 2589–595.
Hanewinkel R, Sargent JD, Hunt K, Sweeting H, Engels RCME, Scholte RHJ, Mathis F, Florek E, Morgenstern M.
Portrayal of Alcohol Consumption in Movies and Drinking Initiation in Low-Risk Adolescents. Pediatrics 2014;
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