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Taxpayer film subsidies promote youth smoking
Date:8/23/2011

onal five years. Health groups and the Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee, which advises California officials on tobacco-related issues, have urged that the bill be amended to make ineligible future film and TV productions with tobacco imagery or branding.

Previous studies have estimated that exposure to on-screen smoking accounts for 44 percent of all adolescent smokers in the United States, with more than one million teens nationwide currently smoking. Almost all of their exposure to smoking comes from films produced by U.S. studios.

About half of movies in the United States with smoking are rated "R" for other reasons, namely because of violent or sexual content or because of graphic language, meaning that they cannot be marketed directly to youth.

In Canada and the United Kingdom, however, most of these movies are re-rated as appropriate for teens or children, largely because of more permissive attitudes toward language and sex. As a result, youths in these countries experience greater exposure to onscreen smoking, suggesting that more Canadian or British youths may begin to smoke due to smoking in films than youths in the United States, the researchers conclude. In 2010, 45 percent of films with smoking were rated for youth in the United States, 93 percent in the UK, and 82 percent in Canada.

The World Health Organization and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend that in the future films with smoking be given an adult rating (R in the U.S.).

In July, the CDC drew attention to the problem of state subsidies being provided to movies that promote smoking, advising that states harmonize their film subsidies with their public health imperatives by making productions with smoking ineligible for taxpayer subsidies.


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Contact: Elizabeth Fernandez
elizabeth.fernandez@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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