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Smoking in movies in 2000 exceeded rates in the 1960s
  1. University of California, San Francisco
  2. San Francisco, CA 94143-0130
  3. USA
  4. kacirkk{at},glantz{at}

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    Editor—Smoking in movies has been linked to increased smoking among teens.1-5 We have previously published data from 1960 through 1997 that shows that smoking fell from the 1960s through the 1980s, then increased during the 1990s.6 7 We have used similar methods (analysis of a random sample of five of the top 20 grossing US films each year) to extend the data set through 2000 (fig1).

    Figure 1

    Frequency of tobacco use (events per hour) in a random sample of top grossing films from 1960 through 2000. The films were watched in five minute intervals and each use of tobacco in a given interval was counted as a single event. The total number of events was then divided by the duration of the film.7 8

    We conducted a regression analysis of these data by filling a quadratic equation in time to the amount of tobacco use per hour. The equation, smoke/hour = 801 − 0.405 (± 0.19, p = 0.04) year + 0.0124 (± 0.0044, p = 0.006) year2, confirms that, after falling during the early part of this period, smoking is now increasing significantly. Based on this regression equation, on average there were 7.3 instances of tobacco use per hour in films in 1960 compared with 10.9 in 2000.

    The messages continue to reflect tobacco industry marketing themes of glamour, rebelliousness, and independence, rather than the realities of addiction, suffering, and death.


    This work was supported by National Cancer Institute Grant CA-61021.