Paediatricians warn against smoking in movies

8 June , 2007

A significant amount of research shows that exposure to movie imagery of tobacco smoking by attractive movie stars is among the strongest factors that leads non-smoking adolescents to get into this highly addictive habit.

Each day, nearly 4,000 children and adolescents smoke their first cigarette. One thousand of them become addicted smokers, facing a lifetime of medical conditions from which over 400,000 die each year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has expressed concern at the Motion Picture Association of America’s recent statement that the association will “consider smoking as a factor” in ratings, will not effectively prevent children from being exposed to on-screen smoking.

Considering the potent effect of motion pictures in persuading children and teens to smoke, a number of organisations have called upon the Motion Picture Association of America to act immediately to eliminate depiction of tobacco smoking from films accessible to children and youth. The organisations include the American Academy of Pediatrics, other leading organisations of health professionals in the United States, 32 state attorneys-general, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following four steps to help reduce smoking initiation among children and youth:

  • Require an R rating for all new films portraying smoking (unless they show smoking by a real historical figure who actually smoked).
  • Convey an effective anti-smoking message before all films portraying smoking.
  • Certify that no payments were made for tobacco product placements in the film.
  • Eliminate brand identifications.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organisation of 60,000 primary-care paediatricians, paediatric medical sub-specialists and paediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young children.



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