Screen Out! Guide Helps Parents Address Smoking in Movies
New Parents' Guide Endorsed by Nation's Leading Public Health Groups Addresses Link Between Smoking in Movies and Youth Starting to SmokeAt the World Conference on Tobacco or Health, on July 13, 2006, the Smoke Free Movies Action Network launched Screen Out!, the first campaign designed to help America's parents protect their kids against tobacco imagery in movies -- a primary influence on new adolescent smokers. The campaign is endorsed by the American Legacy Foundation, American Heart Association, American Medical Association and the State of New York Department of Health.
Studies indicate that exposure to on-screen tobacco imagery recruits half of all new young U.S. smokers -- 390,000 a year, of whom 120,000 will ultimately die from tobacco. Screen Out! advises parents to limit kids' viewing of R-rated films, which give them half their tobacco exposure, and to press major studios and their parent companies to clear tobacco out of G, PG and PG-13 films, which deliver the other half.
The announcement today came with a new tool for parents, the Screen Out! Parent's Guide to Smoking, Movies and Children's Health. The guide provides families with the facts about smoking in the movies and the trend's impact on youth smoking the United States. It also provides parents and civic groups the information, tools and strategies they need to make a difference on a national scale.
"The Screen Out! Guide is designed to help parents and community groups understand the effects of smoking in movies on their kids," said Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., Director, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco. "Through this guide, we're sharing research information that parents can then use to make their voices heard in their communities, and enter into a dialogue with the companies that control Hollywood and get smoking out of youth-rated films."
Mainstream U.S. films have delivered 44 billion tobacco theatrical impressions (tobacco incidents multiplied by movie admissions) since 1999, which was the year after major tobacco companies entered into a legally binding agreement with state Attorneys General not to pay for product placement. From 1999 through 2005, 76 percent of U.S. live-action movies rated PG-13 and 40 percent rated G or PG featured tobacco imagery. Over that time the balance of tobacco incidents has shifted from R-rated into youth-rated films.
"Youth are especially influenced by the glamorization of smoking in movies," American Legacy Foundation President and CEO Cheryl Healton, Dr. P.H., said. "We hope that parents will embrace Screen Out! as a way to make a difference not only in their own home, but feel empowered to build the momentum of this movement on a national level."
Screen Out's success in the United States has vast global implications because U.S. films dominate the international market and reach young audiences worldwide.
"To reduce the chances that children will begin smoking, steps should be taken to minimize their exposure to actors smoking in movies or on television," said AMA Vice President, Stephen Havas, M.D. "The AMA urges the entertainment industry to avoid showing smoking. We are pleased that the AMA Alliance, a nonprofit health advocacy network comprised of more than 25,000 physician spouses, will assist in this effort by distributing copies of Screen Out! throughout the U.S. and will seek to enlist parents and children in this important effort."
Smoke Free Movies aims to sharply reduce the U.S. film industry's usefulness to Big Tobacco's domestic and global marketing -- a leading cause of disability and premature death. Smoke Free Movies is a project of Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Professor Glantz is co-author of The Cigarette Papers and Tobacco War and director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.
This project is supported by grants from the American Legacy Foundation(R), the Arimathea Fund of the Tides Foundation, and other donors. Earlier support came from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.
The American Medical Association (AMA) helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional, public health and advocacy issues in medicine. Working together, the AMA's quarter of a million physician and medical student members are playing an active role in shaping the future of medicine. For more information on the AMA, please visit http://www.ama-assn.org/.
Since 1924, the American Heart Association has helped protect people of all ages and ethnicities from the ravages of cardiovascular disease and stroke, the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, which claim more than 910,600 Americans a year. The association actively promotes tobacco control initiatives working in coalitions on the national and local levels to reduce the nearly 440,000 deaths each year in the U.S. from tobacco use including the more than 170,000 deaths from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. In fiscal year 2004-05, the association invested more than $415 million for research, professional and public education, and advocacy so people across American can live stronger, longer lives. For more information visit, http://www.americanheart.org/
The American Legacy Foundation(R) is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use through grants, technical assistance and training, youth activism, strategic partnerships, counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns, research, public relations, and outreach to populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco. The foundation's national programs include Circle of Friends(R), Great Start(R), a Priority Populations Initiative, Streetheory(R) and truth(R). The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five US territories, and the tobacco industry. Visit http://www.americanlegacy.org/.
Source: American Legacy Foundation
WASHINGTON, July 14, 2006 /PRNewswire/ --