The drop in the percentage of youth-oriented films featuring tobacco use, as well as the dramatic decline in tobacco occurrences in G and PG films, is positive. Still, tobacco impressions within films geared toward teens and young adults hasn’t improved since 2010. If it had, the CDC reports that all youth-rated films would have been completely smoke-free by 2015. Instead, “the average number of tobacco incidents increased 55 percent in youth-rated movies with any tobacco depiction,” a result of five of Hollywood’s six major movie companies — all of which have corporate tobacco depiction policies — featuring more tobacco use.
The answer to the issue lies with where, how much, and what type of tobacco is being used in cinema. In short, fewer movies are featuring not just more smoking but more kinds of tobacco use. That concentrated increase is once again raising concerns about the relationship between tobacco’s presence in media and an increased likelihood of picking up the habit.
To clarify: Smoking in youth-oriented movies is down, it’s especially down in movies aimed at younger audiences where people are most impressionable, and of course smoking rates among the young are down. They really, really need something to be alarmed about.
Smoking rates are down and have been doing down a while. Smokers are going broke paying ever-increasing taxes on cigarettes. Most people hate smoking, and smokers. More smokers than not hate smoking and themselves for their havit. Can public health at some point just declare victory and go home?
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