'Previous studies have confirmed a link between smoking in movies and the initiation of smoking by adolescents, and we wanted to dig deeper into the data to see if the type of character who is smoking matters. Is it 'good guys' or 'bad guys' that have more of an influence?' lead author Susanne Tanski of the Dartmouth Medical School said in a statement.
Movie characters who smoke, regardless of whether they are 'good guys' or 'bad guys,' influence teens to try smoking, U.S. researchers found.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, revealed that low-risk teens, based on sensation-seeking behavior, are more strongly influenced by 'bad guy' movie smoking.
'It's true that 'bad guys' are more often smokers in the movies, but there really are not that many 'bad guys' compared to 'good guys.' Episode for episode, youth who saw negative character smoking were more likely to start smoking, but since overall there is so much more exposure to 'good guy' smoking, the net effect is similar.'
'This suggests that it's alluring for 'good' kids to emulate the 'bad' characters on the movie screen,' Tanksi said.