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Children View Alcohol as "Grown-Up"

In 2005, researchers at Dartmouth Medical School set up a pretend grocery store in order to learn more about how children view alcohol and other restricted products. They sent 120 kids, ages 2 to 6, through the aisles and instructed them to get ready for a grown-up party where Ken and Barbie would be the hosts.

According to the results, 28 percent of the children purchased cigarettes. "I need this for my man," explained a 4-year-old girl, "A man needs cigarettes." Girls and boys whose parents smoked "were nearly four times as likely to buy cigarettes." Beer or wine was purchased by 61 percent of the children. Children whose dads and moms drank at least one time a month were three times more likely to purchase alcohol. Kids who watched PG-13 and R-rated movies regularly "were five times more likely to buy alcohol than kids limited to children's programming."

Craig Anderson, a researcher from Iowa State University, said: "Kids are basically little learning machines. Whatever the content is in front of them, they're going to pick it up."

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