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For Immediate Release: May 10, 2012

Movie Studios Should Stop Depicting Smoking in Youth-Rated Movies

Washington, DC—In a letter signed by 38 state and territorial Attorneys General, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) urged 10 movie studios to adopt published policies to eliminate tobacco depictions in youth-rated movies. This effort follows the March 8 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, which states that “[t]he evidence is sufficient to conclude that there is a causal relationship between depictions of smoking in the movies and the initiation of smoking among young people.”

Attorneys General have been concerned about smoking in movies since at least 1998, when NAAG adopted a resolution calling on the industry to reduce tobacco depictions in feature films. That year, the groundbreaking Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) also addressed one aspect of smoking in movies, prohibiting paid product placements. However, smoking in movies has remained a negative influence on young people.

“This is a colossal, preventable tragedy,” reads the May 8 letter. “There are specific, meaningful steps your studio can and should take to reduce this harm substantially.”

These are: adopting published corporate policies that provide for the elimination of tobacco depictions in youth-rated movies; including effective anti-tobacco spots on all future DVDs and Blu-ray videos of films that depict smoking; certifying in the closing credits of all future motion picture releases with tobacco imagery that no payoffs were made in connection with any tobacco depictions and; keeping all future movies free of tobacco brand display, both packaging and promotional collateral.

“A point we made to studios nearly five years ago bears repeating: each time the industry releases another movie that depicts smoking, it does so with the full knowledge of the harm it will bring to children who watch it,” the NAAG letter reads.

A copy of the NAAG letter and the list of executives it was sent to, can be found here: http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php

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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), www.naag.org, was founded in 1907 to help Attorneys General fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

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