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Call for smoking warning on DVDs

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Joined: 30 October 2004

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Posted: 18 November 2005 at 10:12pm | IP Logged
Call for smoking warning on DVDs
David Strathairn in Good Night and Good Luck
Smoking features prominently in the film Good Night and Good Luck


A group of US legal representatives has asked the major Hollywood studios to add anti-smoking announcements to all new DVDs which depict smoking.

Attorneys general from 32 states signed a letter that cited research suggesting youngsters who see films depicting smoking were likelier to take it up. "We're urging studios to do more," said Maryland's J Joseph Curran Jr. A Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) spokeswoman said the 10 studios contacted would consider the request. "There's no collective decision at this point," she added, saying MPAA ratings already indicate whether a film depicts underage smoking. 'Negative effects' The letter has been welcomed by the American Legacy Foundation, an anti-tobacco organisation. "We applaud the attorneys general for their effort to help counter the negative effects smoking in movies has on our nation's children," it said. "These messages are needed to help offset the millions of dollars in marketing the tobacco industry spends every day in the United States." It also cites research from Dartmouth Medical School that concluded exposure to smoking in films was a "primary risk factor" in determining whether adolescents take up the habit. Released on 7 November, the study found that 38% of the 6,500 young people polled tried smoking after seeing characters smoke on screen. Last year the MPAA rejected a proposal that would see films which feature smoking carry an adult rating.

"Film-makers must decide what story to tell and how to tell it," said Jack Valenti, the organisation's president at the time.

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