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Anti-Smoking Messages Sought in Film DVDs

November 17, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Thirty-two states have urged Walt Disney Co., DreamWorks SKG and other Hollywood studios to add non-smoking messages to DVD releases.

Maryland Atty. Gen. J. Joseph Curran Jr. is leading the effort, which he said was prompted by the release of a study that found adolescents with the most exposure to depictions of smoking in movies were almost three times as likely as their peers to try smoking.

The study appeared Nov. 7 in the journal Pediatrics. Conducted by Dartmouth Medical School with funding by the National Cancer Institute, it is the first research to determine the effects of viewing smoking in movies on a nationally representative sample of youths in the U.S., Curran said in a letter to the studios signed by 31 other state attorneys general.

"This latest study reiterates what we have been telling the motion picture industry for two years -- we need their help in protecting our children," Curran said in a statement.

An anti-smoking public service announcement, to be shown in theaters across the country, is being produced by the American Legacy Foundation, which was founded with money from the landmark $206-billion tobacco settlement with 46 states.

Curran told the studios that they "can dramatically increase the number of young people who will receive that anti-smoking message by attaching it to DVD, video and other home viewing format movies."

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