One of the things that can be done to get smoking out of movies is to give any film that depicts smoking an R rating, Glantz noted. "These results demonstrate the feasibility of an R rating for smoking and also the need for it," he said. "It does show that an enforced policy can have a substantial effect in reducing smoking in youth-rated films, while still allowing the studios to make very good, very successful films."
Another way to help get smoking out of films is for states that subsidize film companies to deny that tax advantage if the film contains smoking scenes. "There is no reason, especially in these times when schools are being cut, when police and fire are being cut, to be spending a penny of taxpayer money helping to sell cigarettes," Glantz said.
The report is published in the July 15 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, studies show that seeing smoking in movies is directly related to getting adolescents to start smoking.
In fact, teens exposed to the most onscreen smoking are twice as likely to start smoking as teens who see little or no onscreen smoking, the new report said.
That's why it's heartening that "the percentages of 2010 top-grossing movies with no tobacco incidents were the highest observed in two decades," according to the study authors. They also contend that the drop in onscreen smoking "might have contributed to the decline in cigarette use among middle school and high school students."
"The nation continues to struggle with youth initiation to smoking and smoking imagery in movies is a key driver of youth initiation," Ursula E. Bauer, director of the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said during an early afternoon press conference.
"One of the factors that prompts young people to try cigarettes is
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