Video games ‘could spark rise in teenage smokers’: 42% of games ‘feature characters smoking – yet only 8% carry warnings’
Smoking is widespread and glamorized in video games, experts warn
42% of games commonly played by teenagers contain tobacco imagery
But only 8% of games have adequate tobacco content warnings
Teenagers largely believe smoking makes a character ‘tougher or grittier’
Experts say tobacco use in video games may encourage teenage smoking
Can YouTube be bad for your health? A new study in Great Britain finds that significant numbers of adolescents are being exposed to tobacco and alcohol content in popular videos from the likes of Jason Derulo and Pitbull. Research from the University of Nottingham (and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health) showed that repeated exposure while watching such videos poses a ”significant health hazard that requires appropriate regulatory control.”
Researchers analyzed 32 popular videos during a 12-week period, and estimated that on average more teenagers (22 percent) were watching them than adults (6 percent). The research then calculated the number of verbal or visual references to alcohol or tobacco in the videos and concluded that they were responsible for over 1 billion impressions of alcohol and 203 million of tobacco.
The research concluded that girls between 13 and 15 were the most exposed to cigarettes and alcohol in the videos.
Is there anything which can’t be found to be ‘unhealthy’? Even dictionaries contain words like “tobacco”, “cigarette”, “alcohol”, “sugar”, and so forth.
And don’t No Smoking signs contain the word “smoking”, and little pictures of cigarettes?
If seeing smoking in videos or video games, surely seeing them on ubiquitous No Smoking signs must be just as unhealthy.
One solution might be to remove or disguise the obvious cigarette, and the word “smoking”, and making the red circle pink, and the letters light grey:
Only people who remembered the original signs would understand what they meant. Children wouldn’t have a clue they meant, apart from maybe “No soaking” or “No shaking” or “No sucking” or “No sinking”, and would
stop start doing those things instead.