Ad 125

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety
Date of first publication: 
Who wants tobacco back on TV?
Parent companies in ad: 
Text of Smokefree Movies Ad #125 (March 2018) ________________________________________ [HEADLINE] Who wants tobacco back on TV? [LEAD] Nearly 50 years ago, the United States banned all tobacco advertising on TV. Now, surveys find smoking and cigarette brands inside broadcast, cable and streaming shows watched by millions of American kids. Who thinks that’s a good idea? [TEXT] Half a century ago, tobacco companies spent billions of dollars on TV advertising. Researchers estimate the average teen saw 1,350 cigarette commercials each year. Then, in 1970, Congress passed a landmark law that ended all tobacco ads on TV and radio. As soon as the tobacco companies stopped sponsoring TV shows, smoking inside the shows them- selves dropped by 70 percent. But look what’s happening now. Media companies that took Big Tobacco’s ad money before 1970 now feature smoking inside their kid-rated TV shows. At least fifteen recent scripted TV series rated TV-G, TV-PG or TV-14 have featured smoking, according to recent surveys. Fourteen of these shows are produced or broadcast by Comcast, Disney, Fox, Sony and Time Warner. All five companies have published policies addressing tobacco in their kid-rated movies. None has a policy to keep its kid-rated TV shows smokefree. TV-MA shows attracting many young viewers also include smoking. Some shows even spotlight actual tobacco brands. Health authorities have worked for years to get smoking out of the movies that kids see most. Will America’s biggest media companies now turn around and embed tobacco in their TV shows instead? Here’s a better idea. Stop pushing tobacco at kids, period. [TABLE] Tobacco incidents in TV shows with greatest youth share. Stranger Things… The Walking Dead… Orange is the New Black… House of Cards… Fuller House… Modern Family… American Horror Story… Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt… Bones… Sample: Scripted live-action series, 2015-16 season. Adapted from Truth Initiative’s report, While You Were Streaming (2018), available free at Smokefree Movies Smoking in movies kills in real life. Smokefree Movie policies—the R-rating, anti-tobacco spots, certification of no payoffs, and an end to brand display—are endorsed by the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, American Public Health Association, Breathe California, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health, New York State Dept. of Health, New York State PTA, Truth Initiative and many others. This ad is sponsored by Smokefree Movies, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390.