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Government subsidies to the US film industry promote youth smoking, argue researchers
Date:8/23/2011

vailable UK film subsidies.

Lead author Dr Christopher Millett, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: "In the period we looked at, the government gave 48 million a year in tax credits to American films that feature smoking, almost all of which were rated suitable for children and adolescents. By comparison, the government spent 23 million a year less than half as much on mass media anti-smoking campaigns.

"By promoting smoking in films, the government is seriously undermining tobacco control efforts. We think film subsidy programmes should be harmonised with public health goals by making films with tobacco imagery ineligible for public subsidies. This wouldn't cost anything to implement so in the current financial climate it should be an attractive policy option."

Martin Dockrell, Director of Research at Action on Smoking and Health, said: "The research is clear: the more a young person sees smoking in films the more likely they are to try smoking themselves. The effect is probably strongest in countries like the UK where conventional tobacco advertising has been stopped. Earlier this year the Government promised to look at what more could be done to tackle the role of TV and films in stimulating smoking among children. At the moment we have a film funding system that makes the problem worse, by investing millions in films made for young people that have the effect of encouraging them to smoke."


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Contact: Sam Wong
sam.wong@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-42198
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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