Ad 92

The Hollywood Reporter, Variety
Date of first publication: 
Why has smoking in kid-rated movies doubled since 2010?
Parent companies in ad: 
One in a series, this Smokefree Movies advertisement first ran on June 4, 2013, in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. [HEADLINE] Why has smoking in kid-rated movies doubled since 2010? [INFOGRAPHIC A] 37%: Current US smokers ages 12-17 who were recruited to smoke by exposure to on-screen smoking. 250,000: Number of those recruits who will ultimately die from tobacco-induced cancer, stroke, heart disease or lung disease. [INFOGRAPHIC B] 100%: Increase in tobacco incidents in kid-rated films since 2010 56%: Tobacco impressions delivered by youth-rated films, 2012 14.8 billion: Tobacco impressions delivered to domestic theater audiences by 2012 youth-rated films, up 33% from 2011 [MAIN TEXT] You don’t have to work for a tobacco company to serve the tobacco industry. In 2012, the Surgeon General of the United States concluded that exposure to smoking in movies causes kids to become smokers. And, as the Surgeon General also reported, US movie and tobacco companies have a long, documented history of collaborating. This history of collaboration—and the global scientific consensus that exposure to on-screen smoking causes massive harm—sets tobacco apart from other film content already addressed in the MPAA’s ratings. Big media companies are pushing MORE smoking at young audiences. Are media companies facing the facts and protecting kids? Among the latest findings on 2012 films just reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)* are: Of course, not all media companies are alike. Some have worse records than others. The table below shows how the companies ranked in 2012: [TABLE]  Tobacco incidents per kid-rated movie Share of kid-rated tobacco impressions TIME WARNER 26.5 38% NEWS CORP. 18.8 19% SONY 13.8 14% INDEPENDENTS 12.2 6% VIACOM 11.5 5% DISNEY 8.5 15% COMCAST 4.3 3% The table shows that most studios added more smoking in 2012. It also shows that the internal policies adopted by some studios to “discourage” tobacco imagery in kid-rated films simply aren’t reliable. For example, from 2006 to 2010, Time Warner reduced its kid-rated smoking by 97%. But in 2012, smoking in its PG-13 films more than tripled—putting Time Warner on top of the smoking charts again. Major movie studios knowingly harm kids, say 38 state attorneys general. There’s no PR fix for the film industry’s tobacco problem. It needs to get serious. State and federal health authorities agree. Through the UN’s World Health Organization, there’s also global consensus about what steps to take: 1] Give future movies with tobacco an adult rating (“R” in the US), except depictions of actual people who actually smoked (as in biographical dramas or documentaries) or of the real health consequences of tobacco use. 2] Require credited producers to certify there were no payoffs for tobacco imagery. 3] Show a strong anti-tobacco spot before any production with tobacco imagery, in all media channels, regardless of rating. 4] Keep tobacco branding out of all future film productions. 5] Make future productions with tobacco imagery ineligible for public subsidy. [CHART] An index of total exposure, in-theater impressions from youth- rated films are up 169% since 2010, to the highest level in 6 years. Big Tobacco lost a federal racketeering case for fraud and marketing to kids. Who’s next? Tobacco companies have paid millions of dollars to Hollywood for one simple reason: movies sell smoking. The science confirms it: harm to today’s 12-17 year olds is real. Their future health costs alone are projected at $18 billion. Either major studios still get a payoff from putting tobacco on screen, in which case they’re corrupt. Or else they’re now serving the much-larger tobacco industry for free, in which case they’re stupid. You decide. 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 Heart Association, Legacy, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, American Public Health Association, Breathe California, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, New York State Department of Health, New York State PTA, and many others. Smoke Free Movies, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390. * US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Also: University of California, San Francisco (2013). Smoking in top-grossing US movies, 2012.