Ad 2

Publication(s): 
The New York Times, Variety
Date of first publication: 
2001-04-16T00:00:00
Headline: 
Smoking is movies radiates 'mania, sex, sophistication, cool, toughness, rebelliousness, self abuse and social inferiority'? Hey, try acting.
Text: 
This Smokefree Movies ad first ran in The New York Times and Variety on April 16, 2001. One in a Series [HEADLINE] Smoking in movies radiates “mania, sex, sophistication, cool, toughness, rebelliousness, self-abuse and social inferiority”? Hey, try acting. [CAPTION] Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt have both taught young audiences how to smoke on screen. Scores of other Hollywood professionals, including many stars, addicted before tobacco’s health dangers were fully known, have died from smoking. [SIDEBAR] March 30, 2001: “‘Cigarette friendly’ is a term a Vanity Fair publicist used to describe the publication’s Oscar party. Cigarettes were on the tables... party favors for dinner guests were silver Zippo lighters.” — S.F. Chronicle [LEAD] A published study of movie industry professionals finds that they confuse smoking on screen with the words in the headline. But for the audience, smoking in the movies can mean only one of two things: corruption or stupidity. Here’s why. [MAIN TEXT] For years, the world’s largest and most powerful tobacco companies secretly paid Hollywood off to get their addictive and lethal products into the movies. The payola supposedly stopped in 1989, after the scandal grew so obvious it brought threats of federal regulation. After all, smoking in movies is a way to get around the 1970 ban on TV ads. Indeed, once secret documents show that tobacco marketers consider smoking in movies to be more effective than TV ads ever were, because “the public is unaware of the sponsor.” The problem is, the industry’s self-policed ban on Hollywood tobacco payoffs hasn’t worked. There’s more smoking in the movies today than before 1989. And stars are still lighting up and displaying brands — priceless celebrity endorsements repeated in per-pe-tuity on TV, tapes, DVDs and cable. Either people in Hollywood are still on the take, in which case they’re corrupt. Or else they’re doing Big Tobacco’s dirty work for free — in which case they’re stupid. It’s certainly not about “freedom of expression.” Money talks louder than art in Hollywood. Product placement in movies is routine business, whether the paying audience is aware of it or not. Laziness is a plausible explanation, of course. Smoking is a cliché. It’s a cheap, sloppy, self-indulgent shortcut for writers, directors and actors. They don’t even bother to be true to life. Studies of recent Hollywood movies show that smoking continues to be three times more frequent on screen than off. What’s more, it’s the rich, powerful and glamorous who smoke in movies, when in reality it’s the young, depressed, poor and least educated who smoke. It doesn’t matter if the good guys or the bad guys smoke. Studies show it still persuades young people that smoking is “adult,” acceptable, normal. It’s not. It’s behavior driven by nicotine, an addictive substance, supported by over $8 billion in marketing and advertising in the United States alone. Tobacco marketing kills three million people a year worldwide — as many as died in battle each year of WWII. Every one of these deaths is profitable for the tobacco companies, even after they deduct that $235 billion tobacco settlement as a business expense. U.S. movies are a major vehi-cle for multinational tobacco companies seeking global market share. Their biggest future profits are in countries where smoking’s harm is little known — places where the Marlboro Man has replaced Uncle Sam as the American icon, thanks in large part to Hollywood movies. Hollywood itself now generates 50% of its income overseas. Still believe it’s an “artistic choice” that Hollywood movies are smokier today than at any time since the 1960s? Still assume it’s all part of the actor’s craft to corruptly or stupidly promote a profit-driven addiction which kills more people in the U.S. than murder, suicide, illegal drugs and AIDS combined? Censorship is poison, too. That’s why we challenge Hollywood to take these four very reasonable, effective steps: 1] Roll an on-screen credit certifying that nobody on the production has accepted anything of value from any tobacco company, its agents or fronts. 2] Run strong anti-tobacco ads in front of smoking movies. Put them on tapes and DVDs, too. Strong spots are proven to immunize audiences. 3] Quit identifying tobacco brands — in the background or in action. Brand names are unnecessary. 4] Rate any smoking movie “R.” While this may identify smoking with maturity, it should give producers pause. Smokefree Movies Smokefree Movies aims to sharply reduce the film industry’s usefulness to Big Tobacco’s domestic and global marketing — a leading cause of disability and premature death. This initiative by Stanton Glantz, PhD (coauthor of The Cigarette Papers and Tobacco War) of the UCSF School of Medicine is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. To learn how you can help, visit our website or write to us: Smoke Free Movies, UCSF School of Medicine, Box 0130, San Francisco, CA 94143-0130. [TAG] For a who’s who, visit SmokeFreeMovies.ucsf.edu
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