Ad 86

Publication(s): 
State Legislatures
Date of first publication: 
2012-05-01T00:00:00
Headline: 
For decades, tobacco companies paid Hollywood to push smoking in movies. Why are state taxpayers doing it now?
Text: 
For decades, tobacco companies paid Hollywood to push smoking in movies. Why are state taxpayers doing it now? In March 2012, based on documentary evidence, the US Surgeon General reported that, for decades, US tobacco companies gave Hollywood valuable incentives to promote smoking in movies. Today, so do taxpayers. Through state film production incentives, states hand hundreds of millions of dollars to producers of movies with smoking. Research indicates that exposure to on-screen smoking accounts for a million current teen smokers in the U.S. Indiscriminate film subsidies undermine states’ own efforts to keep kids from starting to smoke and avert billions in health costs. No state can afford this deadly, wasteful policy conflict. Fortunately, the fix is straightforward. As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended last year, states can simply make future media productions with tobacco imagery ineligible for public subsidy. There’s no First Amendment issue. After all, state subsidy programs already filter out film projects for a range of other content. Whether or not you think film subsidies make sense as economic development policy, collateral damage to kids’ health makes them unsupportable. It’s time to mend state film incentives or end them. Learn more at bit.ly/fixsubsidy. [Policy links:] US Surgeon General. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General (2012), Chapter 5: The tobacco industry’s influences on the use of tobacco among youth. http://1.usa.gov/youthsmoking US CDC. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Smoking in top-grossing movies — United States, 2010. July 15, 2011. http://1.usa.gov/mmwr_2011
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