The researchers said the increase - which comes just a year after the US
Surgeon General warned that watching movies with smoking scenes causes
youngsters to start smoking - is a setback for national youth tobacco
The report found that half of youth-rated movies in 2012 delivered an
estimated 14.8 billion "tobacco impressions" to audiences, a 169% increase from
the historic low in 2010. Tobacco impressions are depictions of tobacco use
multiplied by the number of tickets sold per film.
The study was funded by Legacy, a nonprofit, anti-smoking foundation based in
"Movies may be more powerful than traditional tobacco ads," Cheryl Healton,
president and CEO of Legacy, said in a foundation news release.
"We know that the more smoking that youth see in movies, the more likely
they are to smoke. This explosion in on-screen smoking puts hundreds of
thousands of young Americans at risk of addiction, disease and premature
Quarter of a million to die from tobacco
The report noted that three major film studios had eliminated almost all
smoking in their youth-rated movies in 2010. But by 2012, one of the companies -
Time Warner's Warner Bros - had the most depictions of smoking in their
youth-rated movies, followed by Sony and News Corp's 20th Century Fox.
Viacom (Paramount), Disney and Comcast (Universal) had less smoking in their
youth-rated movies last year than in 2011, according to the report.
"Increases in smoking imagery in the movies are discouraging," said Dr Tom
Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Every day in the United States approximately 3 800 youth under 18 smoke
their first cigarette, and approximately 1 000 become daily cigarette smokers.
Reducing smoking and tobacco use in youth-oriented movies will help save lives,
money, and years of suffering from completely preventable smoking-related
Since 2002, the CDC has listed on-screen smoking as a factor in young people
taking up smoking. Research suggests that seeing smoking in movies is a factor
in 37% of new young smokers in the United States taking up the habit, according
About 800 000 current smokers in the United States are aged 12 to 17, the
release noted. Of those, up to 250 000 will eventually die from tobacco-related
diseases and may incur medical costs of $18 billion up to age 50.
The Nemours Foundation has more about youngsters
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