Young Women and Smoking
A recent survey by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least a third of female adolescents in high schools are smokers and over 70% of regular adult smoker admitted having formed the habit in their earlier ages, probably before 18 years. Popular films and television programmes have highly influenced and allured this increasing smoking habit in young women. However, a recent survey on the role of cigarettes manufacturing factories regarding their product placement in popular movies indicates little participation. An analysis on G-rated children films found that more than 75% featured alcohol or tobacco in their story plots without any clear reference to the associated health adverse consequences featured. Popular female actors in Hollywood films are presented as smokers and thus influencing young women who portray those actors as being a role model to them (Am J Public Health. 2000; 90: 412-414). This paper seeks to concur with the earlier views on the internalization of Hollywood actress smoking habit and their success on the beauty, femininity and popularity on the young female characters in the society, with smoking being the dependent variable under investigation while the popular movies or films as independent variable. In addition, this paper seeks to dispute the belief presented in Hollywood that acting and art has no influence on actions but only mirrors the societal actions. It is this premise that covered under the guise of “artistic freedom of expression” that depicts sex, alcohol and drug abuse or gratuitous violence.
Though, the movie stars’ may not admit their role-model position in the society, this may not be applicable in this scenario. Anti-tobacco activist that the re-acceptance of drug abuse especially tobacco in the growing pop-culture, evidenced in music, movies, films and videos, and the current life-style in young women may be a perfect reflection of the surge, a mind-blocking popularity on cigarrate smoking, despite efforts by the World Health Organizations (WHO) to curb smoking and drug abuse among the youths globally. As Janine Robinette, the Director of Bay Area Tobacco writes, “It creates a social milieu that it’s accepted, that everyone is doing it.” Though view as personal choice, the increasing smoking among young women around the world is highly influenced by what they watch in the public galleries and films.
“If you look at the kinds of risky behaviour young people take part in–drugs, drinking, sex–[you can see] they don’t have any sense of their own mortality. They’re invincible,” says Robinette. “They think they’ll be able to do this [smoke] for some time, and then kick the habit.”
According to the experts, on-screen smoking by the popular actress like Ryder, Julia Roberts, who are role model to a number of up-coming stars perpetuates the motion that smoking is the order of the day for fashion’s and actress. Therefore, Hollywood stars bear partial responsibility for the increasing smoking and drug abuse in women. Moreover, current nonchalance about cigarette smoking squarely rests on the arms of the Hollywood artists, who should be a role model to the society by affecting positively on the youths.
The Hollywood stars or movies, but other Women’s fashion newsletters and magazines regularly featuring insider photos of other runway top models and stars in the rock industry, parting in the Euro-hip sports, do not fuel smoking prevalence rate in women. This prevalence in smoking indicates a kind of rebellion and thus possibly snubbing off the conventional wisdom in our teenagers.
DuRant RH, Rome ES, Rich M, Allred E, Emans
SJ, Woods ER. Tobacco and alcohol use behaviors
portrayed in music videos: a content analysis.
Am J Public Health. 1997;87:1131–1135.
Distefan JM, Gilpin EA, Sargent JD, Pierce JP.
Do movie stars encourage adolescents to start
smoking? Evidence from California. Prev Med.