Ad 66

Variety, The New York Times
Date of first publication: 
Studios must protect kids every time they watch.
Two years ago, major film studios agreed to include anti-tobacco ads on their kid-rated DVDs with smoking. Now it’s time for the next step. Smoking on screen is an urgent public health concern because it puts millions of kids at risk. Tobacco companies have long benefited from the promotional power of movies. And independent research confirms that the more smoking our kids see on screen, the more likely they are to smoke. Repeatedly faced with compelling evidence of harm and under pressure from state Attorneys General and others, in 2007 all of the major film studios agreed to add strong, anti-tobacco public service ads (PSAs) to their youth-rated DVDs with smoking.* At the same time, Hollywood’s kid-rated films continue to deliver billions of tobacco impressions to theater audiences. All motion picture distributors need to take the full step recommended by national and global health authorities. Strong anti-tobacco PSAs should run domestically and internationally: 1] On all DVDs with tobacco imagery, including R-rated DVDs 2] Before all such films in theaters 3] Before films with tobacco in other channels including cable and satellite, video-on-demand, broadband streaming, and down-loads to any viewing device. Of course, it would be simpler and certainly more beneficial to children and adolescents if the film industry stopped pushing tobacco at kids in the first place Until then, strong anti-tobacco PSAs must be part of a comprehensive, voluntary solution that includes: • R-rating future films with smoking • Ending tobacco brand display • Certifying film production and distribution chains are free of tobacco industry payoffs. Young audiences must have the necessary, proven protection of strong anti-smoking PSAs — no matter how they choose to view movies. Smoking in movies kills in real life. Studios must protect kids every time they watch. [Signatures:] American Academy of Pediatrics American Heart Association American Lung Association American Medical Association AMA Alliance Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights American Public Health Association Campaign for Tobacco-Free KidsNew York State Department of Health New York State PTA Smoke Free Movies * The Disney Company, Time Warner and The Weinstein Company adopted anti-tobacco spots on their youth- and R-rated DVDs prior to the 2007 agreement. Parties to the 2007 agreement include Disney, Fox (News Corp.), Paramount (Viacom), Sony, Warner Bros. and Universal (General Electric).