Drugs & Health Blog

Can Movies Cause Teens to Smoke?

Image by CDC. 

The NIDA Blog Team

Do you think what you see in movies affects your choices? Research shows that it does—especially when it comes to smoking.

In fact, young people who see images of people smoking in movies are more likely to smoke.

The good news is that the percentage of youth-rated movies (G, PG, and PG-13) that were smoke free increased from 35% to 69% between 2002 and 2018. However, youth-rated movies that show any smoking show more of it.

The average number of tobacco use incidents (i.e., a single occurrence of tobacco use) in movies depicting any tobacco use reached an historic high in 2018. This number was 64% higher than the year before.

This infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells the story:







(Read a text version of this infographic.)

Be a “smart watcher.” When you see people smoke in movies, think: Does it affect the way you feel about smoking—in either direction?

Note: A “tobacco impression” is one person seeing one incident of smoking in a movie. “Impressions” are a measure of the total audience who saw smoking incidents in movies.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


This is a great article and shows that movie producers are realizing that what they put in movies has a big influence on what teens do. Though some of the companies refuse to let that happen, this article has a big impact.

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