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Iceland Mag


Smoking more common in Icelandic movies than US, European or South American movies

By Staff

  • Extremely common in Icelandic cinema Smoking has dropped to an all time low among Icelandic youth. Only 5% of 15-16 year olds smokes according to the most recent studies. Photo/Wikimedia under a Creative Commons License

A study by researchers from the US, Germany, Mexico and Argentine published by the journal BMC Public Health shows that Icelandic movies portray more smoking than the movies from any of the other countries studied. 94% of the Icelandic movies produced in 2004-2009 studied by the team showed smoking, compared to 62% of US movies containing tobacco.

The study looked at 502 US movies and 337 nationally produced movies from six European countries and two Latin American countries, made in the years 2004-2009 to determine how frequently they portrayed the use of alcohol or tobacco. The study found tobacco use was far more frequently portrayed in movies produced outside the US, and none more so than Icelandic movies.

Mexican and Argentinian movies were second most likely to show someone smoking, with 89% of all films featuring smoking, followed closely by Italy, where 85% of all movies showed smoking. Only 58% of Dutch movies featured tobacco use. But even if Icelandic movies were most likely to feature someone smoking, the duration of tobacco use in Icelandic movies was near average. The mean seconds of tobacco use in films with tobacco content in Iceland was 85 seconds, well below the 210 seconds in Argentinian movies, 140 seconds in Mexican movies and 120 in US movies.

Despite being popular in movies, tobacco has been falling out of favour with teenagers. According to the most recent study only 5% of teenagers in tenth grade (15-16 year olds) smokes. In 1995 this figure stood at 25%.

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