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Groups demand Hollywood take action against tobacco

November 14, 2002|R. Kinsey Lowe

Armed with statistics about the relationship between the use of cigarettes in movies and smoking by young people, leaders of major health organizations went to the heart of Hollywood to denounce what they called the promotion of smoking in movies.

The leader of an anti-smoking movement was joined by officials from the World Health Organization, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Jonathan Fielding and the American Lung Assn. The American Medical Assn. also issued a statement in support of the group. Kori Titus, director of anti-smoking programs for the lung association, said 92% of PG-13 films currently in theaters feature smoking.

Officials at the news conference at Hollywood and Highland urged the industry to:

* encourage R ratings for films that show smoking unless they also show the consequences;

* stop identifying tobacco brands in all images;

* run anti-tobacco ads before films that contain any tobacco presence, regardless of rating;

* Certify in on-screen credits that nobody on a production accepted anything of value from a tobacco company or its agents.

"This is a serious problem and this is a reasonable solution within the existing framework of self-regulation" by the movie industry, said Stanton Glantz of Smoke Free Movies.

What prompted the health groups to join Glantz's campaign was the continuing emergence of data that support the conclusion that smoking in the movies increases youth smoking.

-- R. Kinsey Lowe

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