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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

Smoking in Top-Grossing Movies — United States, 2010

Thursday, July 14, 2011  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Adolescents with the highest amount of exposure to onscreen smoking are about twice as likely to begin smoking as those with the least exposure. Policies designed to reduce onscreen tobacco use can substantially reduce tobacco incidents in youth-rated movies. The National Cancer Institute has concluded that studies indicate a causal relationship between exposure to depictions of smoking in movies and youth smoking initiation. For the fifth straight year, the number of onscreen tobacco incidents in youth-rated (G, PG, or PG-13) movies continued a downward trend, decreasing 71.6% from 2,093 incidents in 2005 to 595 in 2010. Similarly, the average number of incidents per youth-rated movie decreased 66.2%, from 20.1 in 2005 to 6.8 in 2010. The degree of decline, however, varied substantially by motion picture company. During the same period, three companies with published policies designed to reduce tobacco use in their movies had an average decrease in tobacco incidents of 95.8%, compared with an average decrease of 41.7% among the three major motion picture companies and independent motion picture companies without policies.

Attachments: Copy of the July 15 MMWR; MMWR Highlights

The online version of the journal will be available after noon (EDT) on the CDC Web site at

Source: CDC/Office on Smoking and Health

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