Popular animated sitcom 'The Simpsons' could be encouraging young people to take up smoking with the "large number" of tobacco-related scenes it has, say researchers.
In a new study, researchers watched 400 episodes of the popular cartoon.
Dr Guy Eslick, a fellow of the International Union Against Cancer and honorary associate of the University of Sydney's School of Public Health, said that they recorded 795 instances of smoking or references to smoking.
"The most notable characters who smoked were Marge Simpson's sisters Patty and Selma, Krusty the Clown and Bart's school teacher Mrs Krabappel," the Courier Mail quoted Eslick as saying.
While assessing the first 18 seasons of the program, they found that the number of smoking references per season ranged from just over 10 to more than 60.
They said that smoking was presented in a "positive way" in just 2 per cent of the cases, in a negative way in 35 per cent of cases and neutrally in 63 per cent.
"Even instances of smoking being reflected in a negative way, particularly among young characters, could have an impact on promoting children to smoke cigarettes," said Dr. Eslick.