Why doesn’t Oscar® Quit? | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
sign up

Why doesn’t Oscar® Quit?

February 25, 2011


Tinsel Town and tobacco have a long and unhealthy relationship. Movies often glamorize smoking and in years past, the tobacco companies paid millions to film producers to get their brands placed on screen.

Society's attitudes about smoking have changed a lot over the past few decades. Hollywood's? Not so much.

More than two-thirds of the feature-length, English-language fiction films nominated for Academy Awards this year feature tobacco imagery, according to Smoke Free Movies, a project headed by Stanton A. Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. More than half of the nominated PG-13 films — movies typically viewed by teens and even younger kids — contain tobacco imagery.

And after the red carpet is rolled up this weekend, things only get worse: On March 4, the animated film 'Rango,' featuring Johnny Depp in the title role of a chameleon who aspires to be a hero in the Old West, opens. The kid-friendly animated figures smoke, according to Smoke Free Movies. And so, unfortunately, will thousands of real live kids who watch them.

Extensive research shows that youth who are exposed to smoking in movies are more likely to start smoking. That's why the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has endorsed Smoke Free Movies' efforts to reduce youth exposure to smoking in the movies, including an R-rating for any movie with non-historical smoking.

Though the incidents of smoking in movies have dropped in recent years, there's still no excuse for movies targeted at kids and families to perpetuate the falsehood that smoking is cool or sexy.

Hollywood is indeed a myth-making machine — and it must snuff this deadly one out.