According to a new survey, 81 percent of adults in the United States agree adolescents are more likely to smoke if they watch actors smoke in movies. Also, 70 percent support a new R-rating for any movies with on-screen tobacco imagery, unless the film clearly demonstrates the dangers of smoking.
The Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control is an annual poll of public attitudes about tobacco control policies. The American Medical Association (AMA) Alliance, the 26,000 grassroots arm of the AMA, joined researchers from Mississippi State University?s Social Science Research Center today [Feb. 12] to make the announcement during the AMA?s National Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.
According to the report, public concern over the issue of tobacco imagery on screen has grown substantially over the past year:
? Support for an ?R?-rating for movies with tobacco that fail to portray its health risks jumped nearly 12 percentage points between 2005 and 2006.
? Two-thirds of adults want movie theaters to show anti-tobacco spots before any film with tobacco images, up more than five percentage points from the year before.
? More than 60 percent of adults want tobacco branding out of all movie scenes, a rise of nearly seven percentage points from the previous year.
?This research is our latest effort to bring national attention to the harmful effects that smoking in movies has on our youth,? said AMA Alliance President Nita Maddox. ?As a parent myself, I am equally as concerned as the parents we surveyed about children?s exposure to smoking on screen.?
AMA Alliance members have launched a national, grassroots parent-to-parent campaign to clear tobacco imagery from future movies rated G, PG, and PG-13 by calling on the Motion Picture Association of American and movie studios to implement voluntary solutions to reduce youth?s exposure to movie smoking.
The policies and the initiative, Screen Out, have been endorsed by several national public health organizations including the AMA, AMA Alliance, American Heart Association and the American Legacy Foundation.
?There is an overwhelming and consistent body of evidence that shows a clear link between smoking in movies and youth starting to smoke,? said Robert McMillen, associate research professor at MSU?s Social Science Research Center and lead author of the report. ?This national survey demonstrates substantial public and parental support for voluntary policy changes by Hollywood to reduce this toll, including R-rating for almost all future tobacco scenes.?