Movie characters are smoking tobacco more on the big screen and studios that have promised to clamp down on such portrayals remain among the worst violators, according to a new research. There were approximately 1,900 portrayals of smoking and other tobacco smoking among the 134 highest-grossing movies at the box office in 2011, according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco. The total number of “tobacco incidents” per film was up 7 percent from 2010. Among films rated G, PG, or PG-13, and thus more easily accessible to younger audiences, that figure raised 36 percent, the scientists added.
Among the PG-13-rated picture with more than 50 on-screen tobacco descriptions were DreamWorks Studios’ “The Help,” Warner Bros.’ “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” and 20th Century Fox’s “Water for Elephants,” all period pieces. The only PG-rated release in that category was the animated western “Rango,” from Paramount Pictures.
UCSF professor of medicine Stanton A. Glantz explained that the results of more on-screen smoking portrayals will be “more children starting to smoke cigs and developing tobacco-induced illnesses.”
Warner Bros. parent company Time Warner, Universal parent Comcast Corp. and Walt Disney Co. all have established ordinances for to lessen the portrayals of smoking tobacco in their movies, according to the scientists. Nevertheless, those three studios had just as many “smoking incidents per youth-rated film” as the three studios without such regulations, Paramount, Fox and Sony Pictures.
The research was funded by the American Legacy Foundation, a public health group dedicated to reducing smoking tobacco among youngsters.