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Uptick Seen in Cinematic Smoking

Friday, 28 September 2012 11:41 AM

Top box office films last year showed more onscreen smoking than the year before, reversing five years of reductions in tobacco imagery in movies, according to a new University of California-San Francisco study.
Researchers also noted many of the most popular films of 2011 with significant amounts of smoking targeted a young audience, among them the animated “Rango” and “X-Men: First Class."
Investigators – who detailed their findings in the Preventing Chronic Disease Journal, an online, peer-reviewed publication of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion – noted the findings may have significant public health implications. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported the more smoking young people see in movies, the more likely they are to start smoking.
"Hollywood has still not fixed this problem," said lead researcher Stanton A. Glantz, a professor of medicine at UCSF and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. "The result of the increase in onscreen smoking in youth-rated films will be more kids starting to smoke and developing tobacco-induced disease."
The UCSF study found the 134 top-grossing films of 2011 depicted nearly 1,900 tobacco "incidents,” defined as one use or implied use of a tobacco product by an actor. Total tobacco incidents per movie rose seven percent from 2010 to 2011. Among movies rated G, PG or PG-13, smoking incidents per movie soared by 36 percent.
Some of the films that showed the most smoking included "The Help," "Midnight in Paris," and "Hugo," which depicted an era when smoking was more common. But others were fantasy films, including "Cowboys & Aliens," "Green Hornet" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1," which aimed squarely at the youth market, noted Glantz.
The three major film companies that have adopted policies designed to discourage smoking in their movies depicted just as many tobacco incidents per youth-rated movie as companies that lack tobacco use policies. Those three studios with tobacco reduction policies are: Time Warner, Comcast, and Disney (2004). The three companies with no such policies: Viacom, News Corp. and Sony.
"These results underscore a need for an industry-wide policy to keep smoking out of films marketed to youth," Glantz said. "An R rating for movies with smoking would give film producers an incentive to keep smoking out of movies aimed at young viewers. The exception would be when the movie clearly reflects the dangers and consequences of tobacco use, or represents the smoking of a real historical figure."
Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable and premature death, killing 443,000 Americans annually, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

© HealthDay

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Top box office films last year showed more onscreen smoking than the year before, survey finds.
Friday, 28 September 2012 11:41 AM
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