Top movies in 2010 depicited far fewer smoking scenes than in
2005, especially films for kids and teens, a new report finds. Movie
companies with antismoking policies cut tobacco scenes the most.
Moviegoers are much less likely to see scenes depicting smoking
these days, but Hollywood could do more to keep tobacco images away
from kids and teenagers, says a new report. One suggestion: Stamp an
R rating on any smoke-filled movie.
The 88 top-grossing movies targeted at youths (rated G, PG, or PG-
13) in 2010 contained 72 percent fewer scenes of smoking than did
similar movies in 2005, according to the study by the US Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Movie companies that have adopted antitobacco policies saw the
greatest declines, by far. Kids' movies made by companies that
cracked down on cinematic smoking saw 96 percent less onscreen
tobacco use in 2010 than in 2005, the study shows, while movies by
companies without antismoking policies saw a 42 percent decline.
"The movie industry as a whole needs to follow studios that have
designed policies to limit tobacco in youth-rated movies," Ursula
Bauer of the CDC said during a teleconference with reporters.
Among all 137 top-grossing movies of 2010 (of any rating),
incidents of smoking declined 56 percent since 2005, says the CDC
report, released Thursday. Between 1991 and 2011, 2005 was the peak
for images of onscreen smoking.
Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the US, and
9 in 10 adult smokers began smoking when they were teenagers, noted
Ms. Bauer. She also cited evidence that young people with the
highest exposure to onscreen smoking are about twice as likely to
try smoking as those with the least exposure.
Film companies with antismoking policies have "shown it's
possible to make high-quality, highly successful movies without
filling them up with cigarettes," says Stanton Glantz, a professor
of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a
lead author of the report.
Of the six big movie studios, Time Warner (Warner Bros.), Comcast
(Universal Studios), and Disney have adopted policies designed to
limit onscreen smoking. Viacom (Paramount), News Corp. (20th Century
Fox), and Sony have not.
Fewer children would be exposed to smoking on the silver screen
if the movie rating association set industrywide standards, the
report says. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) could
do this by automatically assigning an R rating to any film with
tobacco use, it suggests.
The MPAA, which assigns ratings to movies, has rejected calls for
an automatic-R system. …