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Tobacco use in films makes kids smoke. Apparently.

Hot off the press! You won’t believe this! A scientific study, which has handily been done by the National Cancer Institute, reckons that actors smoking in films and cigarette advertising actually makes kids smoke. Remember, this was an anti-tobacco study done by the National Cancer Institute, so they were hardly likely to find anything particularly positive out of it weere they?

"This is the first government report to present definitive conclusions that, number one, tobacco advertising and promotion are causally related to increased tobacco use in the population," said Dr. Ronald Davis, senior scientific editor of the report and past president of the American Medical Association. "And, number two, (it shows) that depictions of smoking in movies is causally related to youth smoking initiation," carried on Davis, telling a news conference. [Reuters]

Both points sound a bit casual to be honest. The tobacco industry was found to have spent $13 billion on persuading these youngsters that smoking the old cancer sticks was cool. The baccy companies have been arguing that these adverts were created to build brand loyalty. Umm, getting people completely addicted to what you sell is pretty much as loyal as you can get.

Slightly unbelievably, tobacco use remains the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States – we all had our money on it being greasy, horrible food pushed in their faces in huge quantities, but it supposedly still accounts for more than 400,000 premature deaths every year.

So kids, don’t go to the movies. It will make you die really painfully. Really painfully.

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