Hollywood cartoons quit smoking. How about the humans?

Hollywood's animated characters are smoking less — a lot less.

From 2002 to 2011, Breathe California's Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! data shows that 27 percent of top-grossing animated films featured tobacco. The top three in terms of audience exposure: 

#1. Rango (PG, 2011, Viacom) with more than fifty tobacco incidents on screen, delivered 948 million domestic tobacco impressions.

#2. The Incredibles (PG, 2004, Disney) with more than twenty tobacco incidents, delivered 925 million tobacco impressions.

#3. The Simpsons Movie (PG-13, 2007, Fox), also with more than twenty tobacco incidents, delivered 586 million tobacco impressions. 

Other animated films delivering more than 100 million tobacco impressions each: 

Bee Movie (PG, 2007, Viacom)

Corpse Bride (PG, 2005, Time Warner)

Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG, 2009, Fox)

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (PG, 2004, Time Warner)

The Ant Bully (PG, 2006, Time Warner)

In 2011, Rango triggered sharp objections from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Truth Initiative. Smokefree Movies ran ads in entertainment trade publications. The Wall Street Journal covered the story and the editors of USA Today weighed in, saying: "We're pretty sure nobody bought tickets to 'Rango' because they wanted to see a fox or a toad with a cigarette." Viacom staffers called the uproar the "Rango Affair."

Rango (2011) showed a fox and toad smoking in the Old West.

Did protests make a difference? After Rango, from 2011 to 2015, Hollywood has released more than forty animated films to theaters. Only two have included any tobacco. None has done so since 2013. 

It appears that the foxes and toads have quit smoking. If Hollywood's humans quit, too, it would end the other 95 percent of smoking in kid-rated films. 

Here's a list of nationally-released animated movies, with and without smoking, since 2002. Keep it in mind when shopping for children this holiday season:

application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document iconList of animated films by tobacco content, 2002-2015


Rango (2011) showed a fox and toad smoking in the Old West.