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Gender Patterns and Smoking Susceptibility among Adolescents Who View Actors Smoking
Unformatted Document Text:  Actors and smoking susceptibility, p. 20 the third model shows that females, ages 14 – 15, who regularly saw TV and movie actors smoke were 2.94 (p < .001) times more likely to be at risk of smoking, based on the conservative measure of susceptibility. Discussion This research shows a clear relationship between on-screen tobacco use by actors and susceptibility to smoking. After controlling for traditional predictors of smoking, adolescents who reported they frequently see actors smoking were more likely to be susceptible to smoking than those who reported that they rarely or never see actors smoking. Distefan, et al. (1999) obtained similar results. Their study, however, looked at favorite movie stars and susceptibility to smoking and found that subjects overall were more likely to be susceptible than those who did not have a favorite movie star who smokes. Our study not only supports these findings but also extends them by suggesting that the influence of actors is not just limited to favorite actors. Given that we focused on adolescents who had not yet started to smoke, our results also support the findings of Tickle et al. (2001) that the influence of actors smoking begins before experimentation with cigarettes starts, during what Pierce et al. (1996) labeled the “preparation period”. These results are particularly worrisome when viewed in the context of the documented, recent increase in actor endorsement of smoking (Sargent et al., 2001), the fact that smoking is widely portrayed even in movies rated for all audiences (Goldstein, et al., 1999), and the potential of highly visible actors “to be much stronger role models than parents and teachers” (Distefan et al., 1999, p. 6). The findings that regular viewing of actors smoking contributed uniquely to smoking susceptibility after controlling for the number of friends and family members who smoked suggests an additive effect of social

Authors: Arpan, Laura., Heald, Gary. and Visser, Muriel.
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Actors and smoking susceptibility, p. 20
the third model shows that females, ages 14 – 15, who regularly saw TV and movie
actors smoke were 2.94 (p < .001) times more likely to be at risk of smoking, based on
the conservative measure of susceptibility.
Discussion
This research shows a clear relationship between on-screen tobacco use by actors
and susceptibility to smoking. After controlling for traditional predictors of smoking,
adolescents who reported they frequently see actors smoking were more likely to be
susceptible to smoking than those who reported that they rarely or never see actors
smoking. Distefan, et al. (1999) obtained similar results. Their study, however, looked at
favorite movie stars and susceptibility to smoking and found that subjects overall were
more likely to be susceptible than those who did not have a favorite movie star who
smokes. Our study not only supports these findings but also extends them by suggesting
that the influence of actors is not just limited to favorite actors. Given that we focused on
adolescents who had not yet started to smoke, our results also support the findings of
Tickle et al. (2001) that the influence of actors smoking begins before experimentation
with cigarettes starts, during what Pierce et al. (1996) labeled the “preparation period”.
These results are particularly worrisome when viewed in the context of the
documented, recent increase in actor endorsement of smoking (Sargent et al., 2001), the
fact that smoking is widely portrayed even in movies rated for all audiences (Goldstein,
et al., 1999), and the potential of highly visible actors “to be much stronger role models
than parents and teachers” (Distefan et al., 1999, p. 6). The findings that regular viewing
of actors smoking contributed uniquely to smoking susceptibility after controlling for the
number of friends and family members who smoked suggests an additive effect of social


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