SAN FRANCISCO - A new report shows that films which are marketed at children and young people continue to fill the screen with tobacco imagery.

Nearly half (46 percent) of the films with smoking were youth-rated during the analysis period of 2010 to 2016, according to the report, which was compiled by the University of California, San Francisco, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other entities. This amounted to 210 of the 459 top-grossing films.



Smoking plays worrying part in youth-focused films


In movies rated PG-13, which means some material may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13, the number of incidents of smoking surged from 564 in 2010 to 809 in 2016.

The amount of smoking in the few G and PG movies during that time frame dropped from 30 to 4.

"Modernizing Hollywood's rating system to protect the audience by awarding movies with smoking an R rating would save a million kids' lives," said senior author Stanton A. Glantz, a UCSF professor of medicine and director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

The US Surgeon General, based on years of published scientific data, concluded in 2012 that depictions of smoking in the movies cause young people to start smoking.

Incidents counted

In the study, each incident of tobacco use is defined as the use, or implied use, by an actor of a tobacco product, such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookah, smokeless tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.

At least two trained monitors counted all tobacco incidents at in-theater movies that were in the 10 top-grossing movies during a calendar week, while such movies accounted for 96 percent of US ticket sales.

"Since 2010, there has been no progress in reducing the total number of tobacco incidents in youth-rated movies," Glantz, who founded Smokefree Movies, which aims to improve public policy and film industry practice, in 2001, was quoted as saying in a news release.

"There is an enormous need to implement an industrywide standard by requiring that all movies rated for kids are smoke-free."

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