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The Hollywood Reporter, Variety
Date of first publication: 
"A colossal, preventable tragedy." — State Attorneys General
“A colossal, preventable tragedy’’ State Attorneys General want immediate action on movie smoking On March 8, 2012, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that movies with smoking cause young people to smoke. Now, 38 state and territorial Attorneys General have outlined specific steps studios “can and should immediately adopt” to end “a colossal, preventable tragedy”: “First ... varying performance among studios in adopting and enforcing tobacco policies bolsters public health recommendations for giving all movies with tobacco incidents an R rating, except for those films that portray either a historical figure who smoked or the negative effects of tobacco use .... “[T]he industry cannot justify failing to eliminate smoking from youth-rated movies. Whether this is accomplished through meaningful, consistently enforced policies adopted by each studio across the industry, or through a change in the way movies are rated, or both, the bottom line is that action needs to be taken, now. “Second ... include effective anti-tobacco spots on all future DVDs and Blu-ray videos of ... films that depict smoking, regardless of MPAA rating, and stipulate that such spots also appear before broadcast, cable and satellite showings, on-demand viewings, and internet streams and downloads ... [C]ommit ... to encourage theatrical exhibitors to run effective anti-smoking spots before all feature films with smoking. “Third ... certify in the closing credits of all ... future motion picture releases with tobacco imagery that ‘no person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco products.’ “Fourth ... keep all ... future movies free of tobacco brand display, both packaging and promotional collateral.” Citing scientific evidence that movies with smoking account for a million current us smokers aged 12-17 — of whom 300,000 will die prematurely from tobacco-induced diseases — the Attorneys General reminded the studios: “Each time the [film] industry releases another movie that depicts smoking, it does so with the full knowledge of the harm it will bring to children who watch it.” With this letter from the Attorneys General, the film industry also knows full well how to protect its young audiences from harm. Full text of attorney generals’ may 8, 2012 letter to film companies —