A four-year study of more than 1,200 youngsters performed by the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that children whose parents let them watch R-rated movies are more likely to smoke. Participants were in sixth grade when they started the study, and researchers interviewed them a total of eleven times over the course of the study. They were asked questions about the availability of cigarettes in their home, whether smoking was allowed in their home and whether their parents let them watch R-rated movies and videos. According to the study's lead author, Chyke Doubeni, M.D., MPH, the results may indicate that parents who permit their children to watch R-rate movies may also have a parenting style that encourages smoking, or the results could be an outcome of children viewing all the smoking scenes that occur in R-rated movies. In August, 2008, the National Cancer Institute concluded that a causal relationship exists between exposure to smoking scenes in movies and youth smoking initiation. According to Doubeni, the results of the Massachusetts study show that parental permission to watch R-rated movies is one of the strongest predictors of children's belief that cigarettes are easily available, and that it is an equally strong predictor as having friends who smoke.
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