The number of U.S. movies showing people smoking has declined since 2005, but cigarettes still feature in far too many films and could be influencing young people to take up the habit, according to a report released Thursday.
The report's authors recommended that movie ratings also consider whether the film depicts smoking and suggested that strong advertisements about the dangers of smoking precede movies that show tobacco use.
"The results of this analysis indicate that the number of tobacco incidents peaked in 2005, then declined by approximately half through 2009, representing the first time a decline of that duration and magnitude has been observed," the team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UC San Francisco and elsewhere wrote.
"However," their report continued, "nearly half of popular movies still contained tobacco imagery in 2009, including 54% of those rated PG-13, and the number of incidents remained higher in 2009 than in 1998."
Grammys opt for TV special again
The Grammy nominations will once again be unveiled in a prime-time special despite two years of low ratings.
The Recording Academy announced a Dec. 1 live broadcast of the nominations. It will be part of a concert special on CBS.
This will be the third year the nominations have been announced this way, after years of revealing them at a morning news conference. Each year they have performed poorly, despite top talent.
The Grammys will be aired live Feb. 13 on CBS from Los Angeles.
Dr. Laura caller still perplexed
The African American woman who called Laura Schlessinger for advice and heard the radio talk show host use the N-word 11 times said Thursday that she was confused and hurt by the call.
"I was calling her to get some help," Nita Hanson told CNN's "American Morning." "I did not expect to hear the things that she said to me."
Hanson called Schlessinger Aug. 10, seeking advice on how to deal with racist comments from her white husband's friends and relatives. The conversation evolved into a discussion on whether it's appropriate to ever use the N-word, with Schlessinger arguing it's used on HBO and by black comedians.
National furor erupted after Schlessinger ended up using the word 11 times during the five-minute call with Hanson, and the veteran host said this week she would quit her radio career at the end of the year.
Schlessinger apologized for her remarks but Hanson said that was not good enough.
"I think she apologized because she got caught, to be honest with you," Hanson said. "At this point, there's nothing she can do for me."
a danger on Web
She may be known for her playful giggles and killer looks, but now movie star Cameron Diaz has become the most dangerous celebrity on the Internet.
Diaz, 37, is top of the list of the most dangerous celebrities to search for online, above second-place Julia Roberts, according to computer security company McAfee Inc. Last year's most dangerous Web celebrity, Jessica Biel, fell to third. Model Gisele Bundchen came in fourth, followed by Brad Pitt.
One in 10 websites featuring the "Knight and Day" star contain malicious software intended to infect computers and steal data from users, according to research released Thursday by McAfee.
Creators of malicious software use celebrities as lures, baiting fans and followers to click on and download seemingly innocuous content containing programs designed to steal passwords and other private information for profit, said Dave Marcus, director of security research at McAfee Labs.
It's all about Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin has picked an appropriate title for his autobiography: "Me."
The Puerto Rican singer is set to release his memoir on Nov. 2. It will also be released in Spanish the same day. That edition will be titled "Yo," which is Spanish for "I."
A movie with
a built-in jolt
Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal will star in a romantic comedy called "Hysteria" that the producers say centers around "the invention of the vibrator in Victorian-era England."
Filming is due to begin in Europe in October, with Tanya Wexler directing.
According to a news release issued Thursday, the plot centers on efforts by characters played by Dancy and Rupert Everett to put a "new-fangled electrical device" to use for treating a condition known as hysteria — "characterized by a woman's irritability, anger or unexplained tears."
The script is by Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer.
—From a Times staff writer