The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the California Youth Advocacy Network, and the American Medical Association Alliance (the AMA’s volunteer arm made up of doctors and spouses) is partnering for an “Anti-Smoking In Movies” campaign launching today. Mobile billboards will drive around Los Angeles, and stop by the major studios, today and tomorrow showing a young girl asking, “Which movie studios will cause me to smoke this summer?” Using Facebook and Twitter, a scorecard will regularly tally the number of tobacco impressions in this summer’s youth-rated blockbusters. A letter-writing and petition drive across the country will commence during the blockbuster season. And, at the end of September, billboard will be strategically placed near the studio with the worst summer record for encouraging smoking in its summer films.
“The blockbuster season’s first example of smoking in a youth-rated film is 20th Century Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It has numerous scenes of the main star, actor Hugh Jackman, with a cigar. Another PG-13 blockbuster, Angels & Demons by Sony Pictures, includes tobacco imagery,” the campaign said today.
Howver, Angels & Demons is an adult-aimed film. And a Fox insider defends the studio by noting that Wolverine, whose stogie-smoking was a defining trait in the comic books, never actually lights up the cigar in the two scenes it’s in. And he says “Clean living,” when it gets shot out of his mouth. “So that we know he doesn’t endorse it. We are acknowledged by that very group to be the best studio in terms of avoiding smoking.”
“The latest research shows that PG-13 films account 2 out of every 3 tobacco impressions delivered to audiences of all ages. Other studies have shown that 1/3 to 1/2 of all new smoking by teens can be attributed to smoking in movies – and that exposure to tobacco imagery predicts established smoking behavior in adolescents. In August 2008, the National Cancer Institute released a monograph that concluded that movies with smoking cause children to smoke.”