Let’s remind ourselves of the harms of smoking: • It’s still the #1 killer in the United States. • Tobacco kills 438,000 Americans each and every year. [note 1] • Half of lifelong smokers die from HEART disease, LUNG disease or CANCER caused by tobacco. [note 2] • The overwhelming majority of smokers— 80% to 90% — start while they’re still teenagers. [note 3] SOURCES: Mokdad et al. Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000. Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 2004:291;1238-1241. See also Mokdad et al. Correction: Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000. JAMA 2005;293:293-294. (2) Doll R, Peto R, Borham J, Sutherland I. Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years’ observations on male British doctors. BMJ 2004 Jun 26;328(7455):1519. (3) Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Fact sheet: Smoking and kids, August 9, 2005. Consulted at http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0001.pdf on September 2, 2005. Cites: SAMHA, HHS. Calculation based on data in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 2001 (http://oas.samhsa.gov/facts.cfm) and HHS, Youth and tobacco: Preventing tobacco use among young people: A report of the Surgeon General, 1995 (http://sgreports.nimh.nih.gov/NN/B/C/L/Q/_/nbclq.pdf (page 49).
So how many kids smoke? According to official surveys: • 3,900 kids tried their first cigarette today. [note 1] • 2,000 others became addicted today — meaning they smoke every day. [note 2] • Girls 12-17 are likelier to smoke than boys the same age. [note 3] • One in 8 middle school students and more than 1 in 4 high school kids use tobacco. [note 4] • Average age when kids smoke their first cigarette: 15. [note 5] “ Average” means many kids are YOUNGER than 15. SOURCES: (1) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2005). Overview of Findings from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-27, DHHS Publication No. SMA 05-4061). Rockville, MD. Consulted at http://oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh/2k4nsduh/2k4overview/2k4overview.htm#ch5 on March 8, 2006. (2) U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of substance dependence associated with use of cigarettes and illicit drugs — United States 1991-1992, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 1995;44: 830-831.837-839. Consulted at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm4444.pdf June 28, 2005. DiFranza JR et al. Initial symptoms of nicotine dependence in adolescents, Tobacco Control 9:313-19, September 2000. Consulted at http://tc.bmjounals.com on June 28, 2005. (3) SAMHSA Summary of findings from the 2004 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. (4) CDC. Tobacco Use, Access, and Exposure to Tobacco in Media Among Middle and High School Students --- United States, 2004 Vol 54, No MM12;297. Consulted at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5412a1.htmon March 8, 2006. (5) SAMHSA. Cited in: National Cancer Institute. Cancer progress report—2003 Update. NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, MD, February 2004. Consulted at http://progressreport.cancer.gov/doc.asp?pid=1&did=21&chid=9&coid=45&mid=vpco on June 28, 2005.
Smoking in movies is present in all rating levels: Think about classic Disney movies like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan—they all have forms of smoking! • Over the past seven years, almost 90 percent of R-rated movies showed tobacco • 75 percent of PG-13 movies you think are safe depicted tobacco • Even 40 percent of G and PG movies contained tobacco in them. Tobacco is probably in most movies kids see, especially older kids. And they see them OVER and OVER and OVER again.
So exactly how much smoking is in each movie? In 2008, 65% of tobacco impressions were in PG-13 films. That is 11.7 billion impressions total. G and PG rated movies delivered another 200 million tobacco impressions to movie viewers. Fortunately, since the late 1990s, the number of films that are smoke-free has been growing. However, less than 50% of all films, including ones that are youth-rated (G/PG/PG-13) are smoke-free.
So why is this even a problem? Because smoking in movies recruits new youth smokers! Movies show smoking as a glamorous action, and they don’t show the harmful affects Many children/teenagers look up to movie stars as role models, when they see them smoking, it turns into a positive action instead of a harmful one
The research overwhelmingly shows that smoking in the movies causes youth to start smoking. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named tobacco in the movies a major factor in teen smoking. In 2007, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that: Exposure to depictions of smoking in movies is associated with more favorable attitudes toward smoking and characters who smoke, and these positive views are particularly prevalent among youth who themselves smoke. Exposure to smoking in movies increases the risk for smoking initiation. In 2008, the US National Cancer Institute concluded: The total weight of evidence indicates a causal relationship between exposure to depictions of smoking in movies and youth smoking initiation. And that is only a snippet of the research. Much more exists!
For instance, the research shows that Nonsmoking teens whose favorite stars smoke on screen are 16 times more likely to develop positive attitudes about smoking. Smoking in movies accounts for approximately 52% of teens who start smoking! For kids with parents who are smokers, watching movies with smoking tripled the odds that teens would try smoking. Exposure to smoking in the movies quadruples the chance that the child of nonsmoking parents will start smoking.
So what makes smoking in the movies so deceptive? For one, smoking in the movies is NOT realistic. In the real world, tobacco causes heart disease, premature wrinkling of the skin, lung disease, cancer and more. In the movies, smokers are powerful, successful and healthy. In the real world, smoking kills smokers. How often do you see this portrayed in the movies? In the real world, secondhand smoke kills nonsmokers.
Smoking scenes are all through “ Men in Black .” And they even show the Marlboro brand!
Hollywood sometimes claims the big stars DEMAND to smoke. This dog is computer-animated. Did he DEMAND to smoke? Who REALLY puts smoking on screen? There have been recent studies that have even shown that smokers’ pets suffer from secondhand smoke. This is supposed to be a funny image, however, it has been proven that smoking harms pets—and that’s not funny. (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/pets/detail?entry_id=3842)
Link to article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/business/04smoke.html?_r=1
Avatar received a lot of press for its smoking scenes. In this futuristically set movie Sigourney Weaver smoked cigarettes. Read his full response: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/james-cameron-responds-to-critics-of-avatar-smoking-scene/ January 3, 2010, 9:41 pm James Cameron Responds to Critics of Smoking in ‘Avatar’ By MICHAEL CIEPLY James Cameron, the director of “Avatar,” is not one to do things halfway. Asked for a response to those who objected to the movie’s scenes in which the scientist Dr. Grace Augustine, portrayed by Sigourney Weaver, puffed on a cigarette, Mr. Cameron wrote this: I wanted Grace to be a character who is initially off-putting and even unpleasant. She’s rude, she swears, she drinks, she smokes. She is not meant to be an aspirational role model to teenagers — in fact our young protagonist, Jake, through whom we experience this story, finds her to be obnoxious at first. Also, from a character perspective, we were showing that Grace doesn’t care about her human body, only her avatar body, which again is a negative comment about people in our real world living too much in their avatars, meaning online and in videogames. In addition, speaking as an artist, I don’t believe in the dogmatic idea that no one in a movie should smoke. Movies should reflect reality. If it’s O.K. for people to lie, cheat, steal and kill in PG-13 movies, why impose an inconsistent morality when it comes to smoking? I do agree that young role-model characters should not smoke in movies, especially in a way which suggests that it makes them cooler or more accepted by their peers. In the same way that I would never show lying, cheating, stealing or killing as cool, or aspirational, I would never portray smoking that way. We need to embrace a more complex set of criteria than simply the knee-jerk reaction “smoking is bad, therefore cannot be shown.” It should be a matter of character, context, and the nature of the portrayal. I think the people who are earnestly trying to do some good in this area would be more supported by the artistic community if they were less black and white in their thinking. Smoking is a filthy habit which I don’t support, and neither, I believe, does Avatar. Stanton A. Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, argues that the smoking scenes in “Avatar” amount to millions of dollars in free advertising for cigarette manufacturers. Besides, the very notion of a chain-smoking environmental scientist strikes Mr. Glantz as a gratuitous bit of fantasy. “ I know lots of environmental scientists like the Sigourney Weaver character,” he said in a phone interview last week. “Not a single one of them smokes cigarettes.”
This is from the “School of Rock ,” also PG-13. This movie stars a class of children. In this scene, the child is breathing in secondhand smoke! Who are your favorite movie stars? Do they smoke on screen?
Remember “X-Men 2”? It was more about the X-KIDS. In this scene, teens at the mall are lighting up. Beautiful close-up! Maybe they’re following star Hugh Jackman’s example?
Statement by the Walt Disney Company Regarding the Depiction of Smoking in Movies (http://corporate.disney.go.com/corporate/cr_safety_security_smoking.html) The Walt Disney Company is aware of recent studies suggesting a relationship between the depiction of smoking in movies and increases in adolescent smoking. While these studies do not demonstrate that all depictions of smoking in movies have an effect on adolescent smoking, they do raise important concerns about the depiction of smoking in movies. The Walt Disney Company shares these concerns and actively looks for ways to limit the depiction of smoking in movies marketed to youth. Our practices currently include the following: Disney has determined not to depict smoking in movies produced by the Company that carry the Disney brand, except in limited circumstances. For movies produced by Disney in the United States for the Touchstone label, Disney strongly discourages the depiction of smoking in movies primarily marketed to youth and seeks to limit the depiction of smoking in movies marketed to mixed audiences. For movies produced outside the United States or where Disney's influence over the content of films is limited (such as movies co-produced by Disney and movies produced by others that are distributed by Disney), Disney seeks to discourage depiction of smoking where we believe it is appropriate and practical to do so. In seeking to limit the depiction of smoking, Disney must also consider the creative vision of directors, actors and others involved in the creative process. We regularly and clearly convey our concerns regarding the depiction of smoking to the creative community, but we also seek to respect their views when they honestly believe that the depiction of smoking is important to a movie. We expect our practices to evolve as we gain more experience in resolving the tensions between the concerns over the depiction of smoking and the needs of the creative process. Effective October 26, 2004
The picture shows a young boy in Peter Pan going to smoke a pipe. Many of these characters used different tobacco products—Cruella used a long cigarette, Pinnochio smoked a cigar, caterpillar used a hookah, Ariel smoked a tobacco pipe, the children in Peter Pan smoked a pipe, Captain Hook smoked cigars and Miss Spider smoked a long cigarette
Tobacco Depictions in Films http://www.timewarner.com/corp/citizenship/customers_content/responsible_content/tobacco_depictions/index.html Time Warner works hard to conduct itself in a responsible manner regarding the depiction of smoking in our films. In July 2007, we revised the Time Warner Tobacco Depiction Policy, originally adopted in 2005, to more clearly articulate when on-screen smoking is considered appropriate. This policy applies to all Time Warner filmed entertainment businesses, and is intended to give creative executives guidelines for making decisions about the inclusion or exclusion of tobacco products in our films. Time Warner Tobacco Depiction Policy Time Warner has a fundamental interest in creating films that appeal to a wide array of audiences. When we develop films, we work with our creative talent to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that smoking is not depicted in our films unless there is a compelling creative reason to do so. Our practices currently include the following: • Time Warner filmed entertainment companies do not enter into any product placement or promotion deals with tobacco companies for any of our films. • Time Warner filmed entertainment companies endeavor to reduce or eliminate depictions of smoking and tobacco products/brands from all English-language motion pictures it produces and/or distributes in the United States rated G, PG, and PG-13 through vigilant communications with the creative team on films in which such depictions are contemplated unless (a) the depiction involves a character who is an actual historical figure known to have used tobacco products; (b) the depiction is warranted for reasons of compelling historical accuracy; or (c) the depiction is part of a conspicuous anti-smoking reference. • Time Warner filmed entertainment companies endeavor to reduce smoking and tobacco depictions in all R-rated motion pictures it produces and/or distributes in the United States unless there are compelling creative reasons for such depictions. • For movies produced outside the United States or where Time Warner’s business units’ influence over the content of films is limited (such as movies co-produced by Time Warner businesses and movies produced by others that are distributed by Time Warner businesses), Time Warner discourages the depiction of smoking where the company believes it is appropriate to do so. Time Warner works hard to ensure that it conducts itself in a responsible, socially conscious manner, and remains sensitive to public concerns in this area as they develop and change over time.
http://www.timewarner.com/corp/citizenship/customers_content/responsible_content/reducing_tobacco_depictions/index.html Reducing Tobacco Depictions We have steadily reduced the number of films with tobacco depictions, particularly those intended for younger audiences. Since the enactment of our tobacco policy in 2005, none of the G-rated films we produce have included smoking references of any kind. In 2007, only 27% of films rated PG or PG-13 contained tobacco depictions compared to 32% in 2006 and 48% in 2005. Overall, since Time Warner’s policy was enacted, the number of films we produce or distribute in the U.S. that contain tobacco depictions has been reduced by 35%. The policy is now included in the Feature Production Manual for our filmed entertainment division, and for every film that is produced that contains one or more characters smoking, a creative executive has a discussion with the writer/director/producer about the importance of avoiding the depiction of tobacco unless it meets the criteria set out in our policy. Beginning with films released in theaters after January 1, 2008, Time Warner companies include a strong anti-smoking Public Service Announcement (PSA) prior to all films that depict tobacco products for standard definition DVDs that are distributed in North America. In addition, any film on DVD depicting tobacco will contain the following certification language in the end credits: “No person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco products.”
This is one of the examples of creative actions groups take. Read more about their action here: http://www.us-winston.com/cny-teen-tells-sony-to-get-smoking-out-of-youth-movies/
With all of these documents publically available, we need to use them to hold movie studios accountable!
Smoking in the movies takes a huge toll. From 1999-2008, smoking in movies produced only by the top seven studios, and no one else, recruited more than 390,000 teens to smoke. And that only includes movies created by those seven studios. Of those 390,000 teens, 120,000 will die from tobacco use. Additionally, the 390,000 teens recruited by smoking in the movies also produced $4.1 billion in tobacco sales revenue from their tobacco purchases. And that $4.1 billion in tobacco sales revenue equals $832 million in profit for the tobacco companies.
Basically, we need Hollywood to change itself. But to do it permanently, we need to make sure: FIRST — The most powerful, rate future smoking scenes “R.” This tool alone can save 60,000 lives a year. SECOND - No more tobacco company payoffs like there were in the past. Let’s keep everything out in the open by requiring producers to certify that there were no tobacco pay-offs. THIRD — The film industry pays to run STRONG anti-tobacco public service announcements before any movie with smoking. That will protect adolescents who manage to see R-rated movies. FOUR — There’s no excuse to show tobacco brands in movies. So tobacco brand identification needs to stop.
So critics claim that requiring movies with smoking to be rated R is censorship. This isn’t true. Why? Well, the movie industry runs the rating system. The R-rating is trademarked by the Motion Picture Association of America. That’s their logo. Movie studios routinely shoot for certain ratings, for commercial reasons. Why? On average, PG-13 movies sell twice as many tickets as R-rated movies. To rate a PG-13, filmmakers “tune” the amount of sex, violence and strong language. They know exactly where the limits are, down to the number of four-letter words they can get away with. This means the filmmakers are already controlling the sex, violence and language in movies to meet rating requirements. Rating future smoking R simply adds smoking to the existing rating system, which Hollywood updates all the time.
The R policy is reasonable. That’s why policies to protect our kids from smoking in Hollywood movies are endorsed by every leading health organization in the United States — and by the World Health Organization, a branch of the United Nations. Local civic groups are also passing resolutions in favor of the R-rating and the other steps — and they’re urging local theaters to treat movies with smoking as if they’re rated “R” already.
Okay, so now that we know that smoking in movies is a HUGE problem, what can you do about it? It’s time for YOU to take action!
We’re going to go over four actions you can take.
The first thing you can do to make a difference is letter writing. So who should you write? Three Hollywood studios make 60% of all of the movies with smoking. Their corporate partners, who make it possible for them to make movies, are Disney, Time Warner and Sony.
So knowing who the studios’ corporate partners are, you can put pressure on those CEOs to keep smoking out of the movies. Write a personalized letter to the CEOs about smoking in their youth-rated movies.
Here’s an example of a letter to the CEO of the studio’s corporate partner. It is important to include facts about WHY smoking in youth-rated movies is a problem. Also, don’t forget to include a specific request at the end, such as “tell your studios to stop making youth-rated movies with smoking.”
In addition to writing to the CEOs of the studios’ corporate partners, you can also write letters to the theaters themselves! Educate them on smoking in the movies and explain how they can help reduce exposure by showing anti-tobacco PSAs before movies with smoking in them and restricting admissions to youth-rated movies with smoking to those eligible for rated R movies. When you write one letter to the local theater, copy it to the chain headquarters and NATO.
So what else can you do? You can pass a resolution in favor of smoke-free movies! Introducing a city council, county board, or state legislature resolution is a great way to educate people about smoking in movies and to put pressure on the motion picture studios. Step 1: Find a member of your city council, county board, or state legislature most likely to support the resolution. If you can’t find someone in support of a resolution, create support! Gather signatures on a petition write letters to the editor of your local paper to get the issue some media attention. Step 2: Step up a time to meet with them. Step 3: Before your meeting, email a short letter explaining the issue and why it is important. Step 4: Make sure to bring a couple other people with you. Give the person you are meeting with a packet of resources, including a copy of the resolution, facts about smoking in movies, and letters of support from local decision-makers and national organizations. Step 5: When your resolution passes, don’t forget to let the media know!
In addition to writing letters and passing a resolution in your city, county or state, you can encourage others to sign the global petition to keep smoking out of youth-rated movies. The petition is to the members of the Motion Picture Association of America and it asks them to keep smoking out of future youth-rated movies, using their own voluntary rating system.
Finally, you can also write letters to the actors who regularly smoke on screen. Educate them about the effect that their smoking in movies has on kids and teens. In your letter, here are some questions you could ask them: Do you know how many stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame were killed by tobacco? If you have younger brothers or sisters, would you want them to smoke? Did you know you can save lives by simply not smoking on screen? Did you know Hollywood popularized smoking for women? Did you know that smoking in U.S. movies accounts for 52% of the kids who start smoking?
Actors who smoke both on and off screen are a bad influence. Many actors are role models for kids, especially those who appear in children’s movies—like Robert Pattinson. Check out other recent movies to see if your favorite stars have smoked. This presentation, as well as the Smoking in the Movies presentation, will give you some ideas. For off-screen smokers, explain to them why it’s important that they don’t smoke—explaining that they are role models to kids, and their smoking habits may make kids think that smoking is cool.
And here are the addresses for some of them.
SMOKING IN MOVIES Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Smoking in Avatar Avatar came out in 2009, and was supposed to be set in the future. Grace, a scientist, played by Sigourney Weaver, is a smoker. Many smoking in the movies advocacy groups targeted James Cameron and said that he made a mistake by including smoking in Avatar.
Stanton A. Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, argues that the smoking scenes in “Avatar” amount to millions of dollars in free advertising for cigarette manufacturers.
Scenesmoking.org gave Avatar a “black lung” rating, the worst rating given.
“ I wanted Grace to be a character who is initially off-putting and even unpleasant. She’s rude, she swears, she drinks, she smokes. She is not meant to be an aspirational role model to teenagers —” -James Cameron, Director of Avatar, in response to criticism about smoking in his movie “ I do agree that young role-model characters should not smoke in movies, especially in a way which suggests that it makes them cooler or more accepted by their peers. In the same way that I would never show lying, cheating, stealing or killing as cool, or aspirational, I would never portray smoking that way.” -James Cameron
James Cameron, like many directors, used the excuse that he is an “artist” and “Movies should reflect reality. If it’s O.K. for people to lie, cheat, steal and kill in PG-13 movies, why impose an inconsistent morality when it comes to smoking?”
Rebuttal: Smoking does happen in reality, but so does lung cancer and emphysema, which are not shown in his movie.
“‘ Smoking, Mr. Cameron concluded, ‘is a filthy habit which I don’t support, and neither, I believe, does Avatar.’ ”
Disney statement “ Disney has determined not to depict smoking in movies produced by the Company that carries the Disney brand, except in limited circumstances. “ Disney must also consider the creative vision of directors…. we seek to respect their views when they honestly believe the depiction of smoking is important to a movie.”
do not enter into any product placement or promotion deals with tobacco companies for any films.
endeavor to reduce or eliminate depictions of smoking and tobacco products/brands from all English-language motion pictures it produces and/or distributes in the United States rated G, PG, and PG-13.
unless (a) the depiction involves a character who is an actual historical figure known to have used tobacco products; (b) the depiction is warranted for reasons of compelling historical accuracy; or (c) the depiction is part of a conspicuous anti-smoking reference.
Reality Check in New York held an action in 2009, targeting Sony for their lack of policy
Here was a jingle they sang outside of the Sony building to the Frosted Flakes song:
“ Hey, Sony, we hate the things you do. Hey, Sony, if we could we would sue you. You’re one of many companies that try to target teens, so get those dang cigarettes off our movie screens. They’re more than bad. They kill!”
Put pressure on the CEOS of the companies that own the major movie studios (Disney, Time Warner and Sony). Take the time to write a personalized letter about smoking in their youth-rated movies.
Action 1: Write Letters! Robert Iger, CEO THE DISNEY COMPANY 500 S. Buena Vista St. Burbank, CA 91521-9722 Fax: 818-560-1930 Sir Howard Stringer, CEO SONY CORPORATION 550 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10022 Fax: 212-833-6956 Jeffrey Bewkes, CEO TIME WARNER 1 Time Warner Center New York, NY 10019 Fax: 212-489-6183
Action 1: Write Letters! Dear Mr. Iger, I am deeply concerned about what your company’s movies are teaching American youth about smoking. The research says that 75% of PG-13 movies show smoking. That’s outrageous . The movies YOU help fund are recruiting new kids to start smoking. For kids with parents who are smokers, watching movies with smoking triples the odds that teens will try smoking. And exposure to smoking in the movies quadruples the chance that the child of nonsmoking parents will take up smoking. Tell your studios to stop making movies with smoking. This is your chance to help save thousands of lives. Sincerely…
Educate them on smoking in the movies and explain how they can help reduce exposure by showing anti-tobacco PSAs before movies with smoking in them and restricting admissions to youth-rated movies with smoking to those eligible for rated R movies.
When you write one letter to the local theater, copy it to the chain headquarters and NATO.
Action 1: Write Letters! Local Theater National Chain National Association of Theater Owners (NATO)
Introducing a city council, county board, or state legislature resolution is a great way to educate people about smoking in movies and to put pressure on the motion picture studios.
Step 1: Find a member of your city council, county board, or state legislature most likely to support the resolution.
If you can’t find someone in support of a resolution, create support! Gather signatures on a petition write letters to the editor of your local paper to get the issue some media attention.
Step 2: Step up a time to meet with them.
Step 3: Before your meeting, email a short letter explaining the issue and why it is important.
Step 4: Make sure to bring a couple other people with you. Give the person you are meeting with a packet of resources, including a copy of the resolution, facts about smoking in movies, and letters of support from local decision-makers and national organizations.
Step 5: When your resolution passes, don’t forget to let the media know!
Vince Vaughn Wild West Picture Show Productions 100 Universal City Plaza Bungalow 4144 Universal City, CA 91608 Fax: 818-733-5980 JK Simmons c/o The Gersh Agency 9465 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90212 Action 4: Contact the Actors