Smok­ing plays wor­ry­ing part in youth-fo­cused films

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

SAN FRANCISCO — A new re­port shows that films which are mar­keted at chil­dren and young peo­ple con­tinue to fill the screen with to­bacco im­agery.

Nearly half (46 per­cent) of the films with smok­ing were youth-rated dur­ing the anal­y­sis pe­riod of 2010 to 2016, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, which was com­piled by the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Francisco, the US Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion and other en­ti­ties. This amounted to 210 of the 459 top-gross­ing films.

In movies rated PG-13, which means some ma­te­rial may be in­ap­pro­pri­ate for chil­dren un­der the age of 13, the num­ber of in­ci­dents of smok­ing surged from 564 in 2010 to 809 in 2016.

The amount of smok­ing in the few G and PG movies dur­ing that time frame dropped from 30 to 4.

“Mod­ern­iz­ing Hol­ly­wood’s rat­ing sys­tem to pro­tect the au­di­ence by award­ing movies with smok­ing an R rat­ing would save a mil­lion kids’ lives,” said se­nior au­thor Stan­ton A. Glantz, a UCSF pro­fes­sor of medicine and di­rec­tor of the UCSF Cen­ter for To­bacco Con­trol Re­search and Education.

The US Sur­geon Gen­eral, based on years of pub­lished sci­en­tific data, con­cluded in 2012 that de­pic­tions of smok­ing in the movies cause young peo­ple to start smok­ing.

In­ci­dents counted

In the study, each in­ci­dent of to­bacco use is de­fined as the use, or im­plied use, by an ac­tor of a to­bacco prod­uct, such as cig­a­rettes, cigars, pipes, hookah, smoke­less to­bacco prod­ucts and elec­tronic cig­a­rettes.

At least two trained mon­i­tors counted all to­bacco in­ci­dents at in-the­ater movies that were in the 10 top­gross­ing movies dur­ing a cal­en­dar week, while such movies ac­counted for 96 per­cent of US ticket sales.

“Since 2010, there has been no progress in re­duc­ing the to­tal num­ber of to­bacco in­ci­dents in youth-rated movies,” Glantz, who founded Smoke­free Movies, which aims to im­prove public pol­icy and film in­dus­try prac­tice, in 2001, was quoted as say­ing in a news re­lease.

“There is an enor­mous need to im­ple­ment an in­dus­try­wide stan­dard by re­quir­ing that all movies rated for kids are smoke-free.”

Mod­ern­iz­ing Hol­ly­wood’s rat­ing sys­tem ... would save a mil­lion kids’ lives.”

Stan­ton A. Glantz, UCSF pro­fes­sor of medicine

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