Smoking on screen, kills in real life.

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Smoking in movies, kills in real life. According to the Surgeon Generals report in 2012, "the evidence is sufficient to conclude that there is a causal relationship between depictions of smoking in the movies and the initiation of smoking among young people." [1] PG-13 films account for nearly two-thirds of the smoking scenes adolescents see on the big screen. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2014 that 6.4 million children alive today will become smokers because of this exposure. [2]

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the organization that assigns ratings, provides a “smoking label” along with the regular rating for some movies that contain smoking. However, almost 9 of every 10 youth-rated, top-grossing movies with smoking do not carry an MPAA “smoking label. [3] The MPAA's position doesn't go far enough to address the seriousness of smoking among young people. Movies have a strong influence on kids, and smoking in films is a cause of youth initiation of smoking. [4]

The tobacco industry uses the media to target youth by having their favorite actors and actresses light up on both television and movie screens. Research shows that the more smoking youth see on screen, the more likely they are to start smoking. Smoking in movies recruits 187,000 new teen smokers every year. 60,000 of them will die prematurely due to tobacco related illnesses.[5]

There is only one solution. Including smoking in the R-rated film criteria. The current rating system fails to protect our kids. [6] Currently, films are slipping through the cracks such as 2011 film, Rango, a PG film with over 60 instances of smoking. By implementing an R rating for smoking, it will save one million lives. The countdown is on, sign the pledge to demand the MPAA includes smoking in its R rating by June 1, 2018. [7]


[1] DHHS. Preventing tobacco use among youth and young adults: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: DHHS, CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2012.
[2] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 
[3] Polansky J, Titus K, Atayeva R, Glantz S. Smoking in Top-Grossing U.S. Movies, 2016 University of California, San Francisco, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, 2016
[4] Sargent, James D., et al. "Effect of seeing tobacco use in films on trying smoking among adolescents: cross sectional study." 
[5] Adler, Robert. "Here's smoking at you, kid: Has tobacco product placement in the movies really stopped." Mont. L. Rev.60 (1999): 243.
[6] World Health Organization. "Smoke-free movies: from evidence to action." (2015).
[7] Sargent JD, Tanski S, Stoolmiller M. Influence of Motion Picture Rating on Adolescent Response to Movie Smoking. Pediatrics 2012: 130:1-9



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