Policy solutions

Five evidence-based policies can permanently reduce adolescents exposure to tobacco imagery on screen. None of these policies bans tobacco imagery or restricts creative choices. Only one of these steps — ending public subsidies for media productions with tobacco imagery — requires government action. Together, these five policies will avert tobacco addiction, disease, and death on a massive scale.

1. Rate new smoking movies "R"

Any future film that shows or implies tobacco should be given an adult rating — in the U.S., an R-rating. The are only two categorical exceptions: (a) when the depiction unambiguously reflects the dangers and consequences of tobacco use, or (b) the depiction exclusively represents the tobacco use of an actual person, as in a biographical drama or documentary. Learn more.

2. Certify no payoffs

The credited producers should complete a legally-binding affidavit declaring that nobody associated with any future media production received any consideration or entered into any agreement related to tobacco depictions, and should post a certificate to this effect in the final credits. Learn more.

3. Require strong anti-smoking ads

Studios and theaters should run a proven-effective, anti-smoking advertisement (not produced by a tobacco company) immediately before any media production with any tobacco presence, in any distribution channel, regardless of the work's age classification. Learn more.

4. Stop identifying tobacco brands.

Tobacco brand imagery should not appear in the foreground or background of any scene in any future media production, regardless of the work's age classification. Learn more.

5. End public subsidies for tobacco imagery

Future media productions with tobacco imagery should be made ineligible for generous tax credits and other public subsidies. Learn more.