LOS ANGELES - A number of studies have established that kids who witness smoking - at home, on television or in the movies - are more likely to take up smoking. That's why many public-health and anti-smoking groups have sought to reduce images of smoking on TV and in movies. Their efforts appear to be working.
A study released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, after a peak in 2005, the number of on-screen smoking depictions in U.S. movies declined 51 percent. Yet almost half of the 10 top-grossing movies in 2009 contained tobacco imagery, including 54 percent of PG-13 movies.
Several major studies have adopted policies to monitor and curb smoking content in youth-rated movies. Last year, according to the study, Paramount scored a first by having zero depictions of tobacco use in its youth-rated movies.
But more needs to be done to pry kids' eyes off smokers, say the study authors. One of the proposals is to assign R ratings to any movie that portrays smoking. - Los Angeles Times