Smoke Free Movies has launched a series of print advertisements in Variety and other publications. This advertisement first ran in Variety on January 15, 2008.
Studies funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the Ministry of Health of the Federal Republic of Germany. Reported in Pediatrics, an official peer-reviewed journal of the
American Academy of Pediatrics.
New research finds Hollywood’s smoking hurts young U.S. children...and hooks teens in other countries.
FIGURE: Chart adapted from Titus-Ernstuff et al (2008) showing “Proportion who tried smoking” by “Percentile of children’s movie smoking exposure.”
TEXT: New studies further strengthen the scientific case for R-rating future smoking in U.S. films: to protect younger children exposed primarily to G/PG/PG-13 movies and to stem the global tobacco epidemic now killing 5 million a year.
A decade of research has established that mainstream U.S. movies are one of the most important channels recruiting adolescent smokers in the United States.
Now a study following elementary school students for two years finds that, after controlling for other influences, the more smoking they see on screen, the more likely they are to try smoking.
While teens get about half of their on-screen tobacco impressions from G/PG/PG-13 films, younger children receive 80% of their exposure from youth-rated films.
Previous studies found that teens who saw the most smoking on screen were 2.7 times as likely to smoke as those who saw the least. The younger children with the highest exposures in this study, some of whom were first- or second-graders when first exposed, were 2.3 times as likely to smoke two years later.
The authors conclude that, compared to labeling films with tobacco, the “more practical solution to reduce children’s exposure to movie smoking would be to eliminate smoking from youth-rated movies.”
U.S. films are the most popular in the world, so the smoking in them has global impact. Researchers followed more than 2,500 German students aged 10-16 who had never smoked before the study and found that, just as in the U.S., teens with the highest exposure to Hollywood films with tobacco were twice as likely to become smokers as those with the lowest exposure.
German teens whose parents don’t smoke were more strongly influenced than those whose parents smoke, mean-ing that films with smoking undermine the strongest parental example.
These new studies show the harm done by U.S. movies with smoking starts younger—and spreads globally.
A year ago, the Harvard School of Public Health, at the MPAA’s own invitation, advised the industry:
“Take substantive and effective action to eliminate smoking from films accessible to children and youths, and take leadership and credit for doing so.”
Instead, the MPAA announced a vague tobacco labeling policy, then applied it mainly to indie PG films in limited release —useless to parents and the industry alike.
Research will continue to accumulate showing that films with smoking harm children from the earliest years and that U.S. films with smoking are a vector for addiction, disease and death worldwide.
The film industry’s history of collaborating with tobacco firms is indefensible. Its reckless disregard of today’s scientific evidence is inexcusable. R-rate tobacco now.
SIDEBAR: “My objective is to gain consensus among the member companies of MPAA on Harvard’s pending recommendations, and then begin implementation.” — Letter from MPAA President Dan Glickman to State Attorneys General, October 5, 2006
This public statement is endorsed by:
Renée Jenkins, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
Cass Wheeler, CEO, American Heart Association
Cheryl Healton, Dr.P.H., President & CEO, American Legacy Foundation
Bernadette A. Toomey, President & CEO, American Lung Association
Ronald M. Davis, MD, President, American Medical Association
Diane C. Fenyk, President, American Medical Association Alliance
Cynthia Hallett, MPH, Executive Director, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights
Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF Professor of Medicine, Director, Smoke Free Movies
For more information, please contact Smoke Free Movies, UCSF School of Medicine, Box 1390, San Francisco CA 94143-1390 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.smokefreemovies.ucsf.edu
Click here to read the new research on American children and German adolescents.