IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Bad guys' and the poor smoke more in movies

If someone is trying to make smoking look glamorous, it isn’t at the movies, U.S. researchers said.
/ Source: Reuters

If someone is trying to make smoking look glamorous, it isn’t at the movies, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

Their analysis of more than 400 blockbuster films shows that villains smoke more than heroes, and the poor light up more often than the rich.

“Most investigators have concluded that smoking is portrayed as glamorous and positive, but our study shows that the exact opposite is true,” said Dr. Karan Omidvari of St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, N.J, who led the study.

“Additionally, different studies in the past have subjectively concluded that movies are attempting to influence different groups of minorities to smoke. We have contradicted these findings as well.”

Omidvari and colleagues studied leading characters in box office hits made after 1990 portraying contemporary U.S. society. They included “Armageddon,” “There’s Something About Mary” and “Jerry Maguire.”

They found that 35.7 percent of antagonists smoked compared to 20.6 percent of protagonists.

And nearly half of the screen smokers were in the lower socioeconomic class compared to 22.9 percent in the middle class and 10.5 percent in the upper class, they reported in the August issue of the journal Chest.

Overall, the percentage of characters who smoked was about the same as in real life, about 23 percent, the study said. Men were more likely to smoke than women, and whites were more likely to smoke than minorities — again an accurate portrayal of smoking behavior.