Most teens pick up the habit of smoking by watching their favorite film actors puffing away in movies. This widely popular belief has been confirmed in a recent survey of school students of Delhi. The survey, published in British Medical Journal, finds that adolescents who watch Bollywood stars light up or use other tobacco products on screen are more likely to be tobacco users.
A cross-sectional sample of 3,956 adolescents (classes VIII and IX, ages 12-16 years) from 12 randomly selected New Delhi schools was surveyed in 2009. It included assessing tobacco use status, receptivity to tobacco promotions (based on owning or willingness to wear tobacco-branded merchandise) and exposure to its use in the movies.
The survey led to the subjects listing out 59 films that had 162 shots of tobacco-use scenes that they could summon up. It is a matter of deep concern that the young generations are blatantly ignoring the repercussions of such acts and according to the survey, at least 11.8 per cent of the adolescents were found receptive to tobacco promotions from the Bollywood movies.
India accounts for one-sixth of tobacco illnesses worldwide and will face a fast increase in tobacco-related mortality from 1.4 per cent of all deaths in 1990 to 13.3 per cent in 2020. The tendency among adolescents to pick up smoking by watching the film stars will add to the number thus weakening the present and generations to come.