Hollywood films drive teenagers to take up smoking and should be viewed as seriously as peer pressure and tobacco advertising, researchers said yesterday. Questioning of 1,700 Form Four students had revealed a link between the number of US films they watched and whether they smoked, visiting Professor Marvin Goldberg of Pennsylvania State University said. 'The more movies teenagers saw, the greater the likelihood of their having puffed a cigarette, having smoked in the last seven days and their likelihood of smoking in one year's time,' he said. Among those who had seen three or more US films in the previous two months, the percentage of smokers was double that of the group who had seen none. 'If you have attractive, glamorous people doing attractive, glamorous things and while they're doing them they're smoking, then you're likely to think that smoking is a good thing and that most people do smoke,' Professor Goldberg said. He said Western and particularly American films were watched enthusiastically by Asian teenagers, who liked to copy characters they saw as liberated and sophisticated. Actors were known to accept payment from tobacco firms for agreeing to smoke on camera. Sylvester Stallone was paid US$500,000 (HK$3.87 million) in 1983 to use Brown and Williamson tobacco products in at least five movies. Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health executive director Marcus Yu Yin-sum said he expected locally made films, which were even more likely to show actors smoking, were also prompting teenagers to smoke.