Currently, movies depicting smoking are often rated PG-13, while smoking accompanied by other adult behaviors such as sex and violence results in a film being slapped with an R rating.

But since a new study suggests teens are more likely to smoke after seeing it on-screen, some people now say all movies with smoking should be restricted to adult viewers only.

In the study, researchers surveyed more than 6,500 kids between 10 and 14 three times over a two-year period, asking them which movies they’d seen and if they’d ever smoked a cigarette.

After analyzing the results, the researchers found that smoking was rare in movies rated G or PG and was not linked to teenage smoking habits, but teens exposed to the average number of smoking scenes from PG-13 movies were 49 percent more likely to have tried smoking.

Therefore, they argue, imposing an R rating on such movies could keep many teens from picking up the habit.

“An R rating for smoking could reduce smoking onset in the United States by 18 percent, an effect similar to making all parents maximally authoritative in their parenting,” said Dr. James Sargent of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and his colleagues.

[WebMD]