Smokefree Movies

Internal tobacco industry documents show that tobacco companies often paid movie studios for product placement in films, but by the 1990s many in Hollywood said this practice had ended. We disagreed, and in 1997 launched our Hollywood on Tobacco HOT) project (funded by the then California Department of Health Services, Tobacco Control Section) to document if the practice was still occurring. We conducted an ethnographic study -- a study conducted from the point of view of people within the target culture -- which was one of the first projects on this subject to seek input directly from writers, actors, and directors. Key findings were presented in a peer-reviewed journal article "Hollywood on Tobacco: How the Entertainment Industry Understand Tobacco Portrayal" and a documentary which showed how the culture of the film industry affects the inclusion and portrayal of tobacco products in film and on television. Not surprisingly, everyone interviewed denied paid tobacco placement was still occurring and blamed someone else for smoking in films.

After HOT ended, Dr. Stanton Glantz began his Smokefree Movies campaign which seeks to achieve four key principles, including the establishment of an R rating for films that depict smoking - unless the smoking is by a historical character who smoked. There is a very large body of research that documents the influence of smoking in films on youth experimentation and uptake of smoking, the use of movies to glamorize and popularize smoking again, and influence of product placement on attitudes toward smoking and smokers. Several national and international organizations, including Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (ANR), the American Public Health Association (APHA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) have endorsed the Smokefree Movies' principles. Has your organization or group endorsed these principles?

And the public supports the idea as well; 81% of U.S. adults agree that adolescents are more likely to smoke if they watch actors smoke in movies, and 70% support a new R-rating for any movies with on-screen tobacco imagery, unless the file clearly demonstrates the dangers of smoking.

Too bad Hollywood is still creating a smoke screen. While the Smokefree Movies campaign is making progress, we have yet to see the four principles adopted by the film making industry.

To learn more and to get involved, visit or contact us.

Disney bans smoking in films
Marvel, LucasFilm and Pixar films will no longer be allowed to depict smoking
The Telegraph - March 15, 2015

Disney has announced that it is banning smoking in all of its PG 13-rated future productions, including Marvel, LucasFilm and Pixar films. ... Asked by shareholder Stanton Glantz, a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, whether Disney would be prepared to support a move to give an "R" rating (roughly equivalent to a UK 18 certificate) to all films depicting smoking, Iger said: "I think it would be a little bit presumptuous of me to commit to doing that today without getting a little bit more of a flavor or perspective on the dynamic that exists at the MPAA on the subject. ...

Disney CEO Robert Iger announces "ironclad" policy of no smoking in youth-rated Disney movies
Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education - March 13, 2015

Yesterday (March 12, 2015) Dr. Gina Intinarelli, a cardiothoracic nurse from UCSF and I attended the Walt Disney Corp. annual meeting. During the question and answer period, Gina told Disney CEO and Chairman of the Board Robert Iger of the thousands of patients with heart disease and cancer she had care for, that virtually all of these people started smoking as kids, and that the US Surgeon General had concluded that exposure to smoking onscreen caused kids to start smoking. She pointed out that nearly half of the Marvel movies (Disney owns Marvel) had contained smoking. She then asked Mr. Iger for if Disney would implement an “ironclad” policy of keeping smoking.

News | Related Research
Lee, J.G.; Agnew-Brune, C.B.; Clapp, J.A.; Blosnich, J.R., "Out smoking on the big screen: tobacco use in LGBT movies, 2000-2011," Tobacco Control 23(e2): e156-e158, November 2014.
Thrasher, J.F.; Sargent, J.D.; Vargas, R.; Braun, S.; Barrientos-Gutierrez, T.; Sevigny, E.L.; Billings, D.L.; Arillo-Santillan, E.; Navarro, A.; Hardin, J., "Are movies with tobacco, alcohol, drugs, sex, and violence rated for youth? A Comparison of Rating Systems in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States," International Journal of Drug Policy 25(2): 267–275, March 2014.
Choi, K.; Fabian, L.; Jansen, J.; Lenk, K.; Forster, J., "Young adults' support for adult-ratings for movies depicting smoking and for restrictions on tobacco magazine advertising," World Medical and Health Policy 5(4): 335-346, December 2013.
Bergamini, E.; Demidenko, E.; Sargent, J.D., "Trends in tobacco and alcohol brand placements in popular US movies, 1996 through 2009," JAMA Pediatrics 167(7): 634-639, July 2013.
Lochbuehler, K.; Kleinjan, M.; Engels, R.C., "Does the exposure to smoking cues in movies affect adolescents' immediate smoking behavior?," Addictive Behaviors 38(5): 2203-2206, May 2013.
Morgenstern, M.; Sargent, J.D.; Engels, R.C.; Scholte, R.H.; Florek, E.; Hunt, K.; Sweeting, H.; Mathis, F.; Faggiano, F.; Hanewinkel, R., "Smoking in movies and adolescent smoking initiation: longitudinal study in six European countries," American Journal of Preventive Medicine 44(4): 339-344, April 2013.
Dal Cin, S.; Stoolmiller, M.; Sargent, J.D., "Exposure to smoking in movies and smoking initiation among black youth," American Journal of Preventive Medicine 44(4): 345-350, April 2013.
Glantz, S.A.; Iaccopucci, A.; Titus, K.; Polansky, J.R., "Smoking in top-grossing US movies, 2011," Preventing Chronic Disease [Epub ahead of print], September 27, 2012.
Zolty, B., "Smoke-free movies: an important component of a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship," European Journal of Public Health 22(2) :168, April 2012.
Polansky, J.R.; Glantz, S.A., "California film subsidies and on-screen smoking: resolving the policy conflict," San Francisco, CA: University of California, San Francisco, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, January 2012.
Choi, K.; Forster, J.L.; Erickson, D.J.; Lazovich, D.; Southwell, B.G., "Prevalence of smoking in movies as perceived by teenagers longitudinal trends and predictors," American Journal of Preventive Medicine 41(2): 167-173, August 2011.
Glantz, S.A.; Mitchell, S.; Titus, K.; Polansky, J.R.; Kaufmann, R.B.; Bauer, U.E., "Smoking in top-grossing movies — United States, 2010," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 60(27): 909-913, July 15, 2011.
Lochbuehler, K.; Voogd, H.; Scholte, R.H.; Engels, R.C., "Attentional bias in smokers: exposure to dynamic smoking cues in contemporary movies," Journal of Psychopharmacology 25(4): 514-519, April 2011.
Pechmann, C., "Smoking in movies," Health Communication 25(6-7): 578-579, September 2010.
Lochbuehler, K.; Peters, M.; Scholte, R.H.; Engels, R.C., "Effects of smoking cues in movies on immediate smoking behavior," Nicotine and Tobacco Research 12(9): 913-918, September 2010.
Glantz, S.A.; Titus, K.; Mitchell, S.; Polansky, J.; Kaufmann, R.B., "Smoking in top-grossing movies -- United States, 1991-2009," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 59(32): 1014-1017, August 20, 2010.
Shadel, W.G.; Martino, S.C.; Haviland, A.; Setodji, C.; Primack, B.A., "Smoking motives in movies are important for understanding adolescent smoking: a preliminary investigation," Nicotine and Tobacco Research 12(8): 850-854, August 2010.
Polansky, J.R.; Mitchell, S.; Glantz, S.A., "Film-flam: how MPAA/NATO movie labels hide the biggest media risk to kids," San Francisco, CA: Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California San Francisco, July 1, 2010.
Samet, J.M., "Smoking in movies: when will the saga end?," Tobacco Control 19(3): 173-174, June 2010.
Jamieson, P.E.; Romer, D., "Trends in US movie tobacco portrayal since 1950: a historical analysis," Tobacco Control 19(3): 179-184, June 2010.
Anderson, S.J.; Millett, C.; Polansky, J.R.; Glantz, S.A., "Exposure to smoking in movies among British adolescents 2001-2006," Tobacco Control 19(3): 197-200, June 2010.
Blake, K.D.; Viswanath, K.; Blendon, R.J.; Vallone, D., "The role of reported tobacco-specific media exposure on adult attitudes toward proposed policies to limit the portrayal of smoking in movies," Tobacco Control 19(3):191-196, June 2010.
Millett, C.; Glantz, S.A., "Assigning an '18' rating to movies with tobacco imagery is essential to reduce youth smoking," Thorax 65(5): 377-379, May 2010.
Shmueli, D.; Prochaska, J.J.; Glantz, S.A., "Effect of smoking scenes in films on immediate smoking: a randomized controlled study," American Journal of Preventive Medicine 38(4): 351-358, April 2010.
Polansky, J.R.; Glantz, S.A., "Taxpayer subsidies for US films with tobacco imagery," San Francisco, CA: University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, November 10, 2009.
Heatherton, T.F.; Sargent, J.D., "Does watching smoking in movies promote teenage smoking?," Current Directions in Psychological Science 18(2): 63-67, April 15, 2009.
Harakeh, Z.; Engels, R.; Vohs, K.; van Baaren, R.B.; Sargent, J., "Exposure to movie smoking, antismoking ads, and smoking intensity: an experimental study with a factorial design," Tobacco Control [Epub ahead of print], December 11, 2009.
Sargent, J.D.; Hanewinkel, R., "Comparing the effects of entertainment media and tobacco marketing on youth smoking in Germany," Addiction 104(5): 815–823, May 2009.
Adachi-Mejia, A.M.; Primack, B.A.; Beach, M.L.; Titus-Ernstoff, L.; Longacre, M.R.; Weiss, J.E.; Dalton, M.A., "Influence of movie smoking exposure and team sports participation on established smoking," Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 163(7): 638-643, July 2009.
Sargent, J.D.; Morgenstern, M.; Isensee, B.; Hanewinkel, R., "Movie smoking and urge to smoke among adult smokers," Nicotine and Tobacco Research 11(9): 1042–1046, September 2009.
Dalton, M.A.; Beach, M.L.; Adachi-Mejia, A.M.; Longacre, M.R.; Matzkin, A.L.; Sargent, J.D.; Heatherton, T.F.; Titus-Ernstoff, L., "Early exposure to movie smoking predicts established smoking by older teens and young adults," Pediatrics 123(4): e551-e558, April 2009.
Sargent, J.D.; Gibson, J.; Heatherton, T.F., "Comparing the effects of entertainment media and tobacco marketing on youth smoking," Tobacco Control 18(1): 47-53, February 2009.
Duke, J.C.; Appleyard Allen, J.; Pederson, L.L.; Mowery, P.D.; Xiao, H.; Sargent, J.D., "Reported exposure to pro-tobacco messages in the media: trends among youth in the United States, 2000-2004," American Journal of Health Promotion 23(3): 195-202, January-February 2009.
Lum, K.L.; Polansky, J.R.; Glantz, S.A., "Signed, sealed and delivered: "Big Tobacco" in Hollywood, 1927-1951," Tobacco Control 17(5): 313-323, October 2008.
National Cancer Institute, "The role of the media in promoting and reducing tobacco use. Tobacco Control Monograph No. 19. NIH Pub. No. 07-6242," Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, June 2008.
Primack, B.A.; Land, S.R.; Fine, M.J., "Adolescent smoking and volume of exposure to various forms of media," Public Health 122(4): 379-389, April 2008.
Edwards, C.; Oakes, W.; Bull, D., "Out of the smokescreen II: will an advertisement targeting the tobacco industry affect young people's perception of smoking in movies and their intention to smoke?," Tobacco Control 16(3): 177-181, June 1, 2007.
Sargent, J.D.; Tanski, S.E.; Gibson, J., "Exposure to movie smoking among US adolescents aged 10 to 14 years: a population estimate," Pediatrics 119(5): e1167-e1176, May 2007.
Worth, K.A.; Dal Cin, S.; Sargent, J.D., "Prevalence of smoking among major movie characters: 1996–2004," Tobacco Control 15(6): 442-446, December 2006.
Dobson, R., "Tobacco company considered funding a film to promote smoking in eastern Europe," British Medical Journal 332(7551): 1176, May 20, 2006.
Sargent, J.D.; Beach, M.L.; Adachi-Mejia, A.M.; Gibson, J.J.; Titus-Ernstoff, L.T.; Carusi, C.P.; Swain, S.D.; Heatherton, T.F.; Dalton, M.A., "Exposure to movie smoking: its relation to smoking initiation among US adolescents," Pediatrics 116(5): 1183-1191, November 2005.
Adachi-Mejia, A.M., "Tobacco brand appearances in movies before and after the Master Settlement Agreement," Journal of the American Medical Association 293(19): 2341-2341, May 18, 2005.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, "Tobacco use, access, and exposure to tobacco in media among middle and high school students: United States, 2004," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 54(12): 297-301, April 1, 2005.
Dozier, D.M.; Lauzen, M.M.; Day, C.A.; Payne, S.M.; Tafoya, M.R., "Leaders and elites: portrayals of smoking in popular films," Tobacco Control 14(1): 7-9, February 2005.
Mekemson, C.; Glik, D.; Titus, K.; Myerson, A.; Shaivitz, A.; Ang, A.; Mitchell, S., "Tobacco use in popular movies during the past decade," Tobacco Control 13(4): 400-402, December 2004.
Edwards, C.A.; Harris, W.C.; Cook, D.R.; Bedford, K.F.; Zuo, Y., "Out of the smokescreen: does an anti-smoking advertisement affect young women’s perception of smoking in movies and their intention to smoke?," Tobacco Control 13(3): 277-282, September 2004.
McCool, J.P.; Cameron, L.; Petrie, K., "Stereotyping the smoker: adolescents’ appraisals of smokers in film," Tobacco Control 13(3): 308-314, September 2004.
Glantz, S.A.; Kacirk, K.W.; McCulloch, C., "Back to the future: smoking in movies in 2002 compared with 1950 levels," American Journal of Public Health 94(2): 261-263, February 2004.
Sargent, J.D.; Dalton, M.A.; Heatherton, T.; Beach, M., "Modifying exposure to smoking depicted in movies," Achives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 157(7): 643-648, 2003.
Dalton, M.A.; Sargent, J.D.; Beach, M.L.; Titus-Ernstoff, L.; Gibson, J.J.; Ahrens, M.B.; Tickle, J.J.; Heatherton, T.F., "Effect of viewing smoking in movies on adolescent smoking initiation: a cohort study," Lancet 362(9380): 281-285, July 26, 2003.
Dalton, M.A.; Trickle, J.J.; Sargent, J.D.; Beach, M.L.; Ahrens, M.B.; Heatherton, T.F., "The incidence and context of tobacco use in popular movies from 1988 to 1997," Pediatrics 34(5): 516-523, May 2002.
Dalton, M.A.; Mott, L.A.; Beach, M.L.; Tickle, J.J.; Heatherton, T.F., "Relation between adolescent use of tobacco and alcohol and parental restrictions on movies," Effective Clinical Practice 5(1): 1-10, January-February, 2002.
Dakake, B.; Ng, C., "Tobacco at the movies: tobacco use in PG-13 films," Boston: MASSPIRG;Washington, DC: U.S. Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG), 2002. Abstract not available.
Mekemson, C.; Glantz, S.A., "How the tobacco industry built its relationship with Hollywood," Tobacco Control 11(Suppl 1): i81-i91, 2002.
Sargent, J.D.; Beach, M.L.; Dalton, M.A.; Mott, L.A.; Tickle, J.J.; Ahrens, M.B.; Heatherton, T.F., "Effect of seeing tobacco use in films on trying smoking among adolescents: cross sectional study," British Medical Journal 323(7326): 1-6, December 15, 2001.
Thompson, K.M.; Yokota, F., "Depiction of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances in G-rated animated feature films," Pediatrics 107(6): 1369-1374, June 2001.
Tickle, J.J.; Sargent, J.D.; Dalton, M.A.; Beach, M.L.; Heatherton, T.F., "Favourite movie stars, their tobacco use in contemporary movies, and its association with adolescent smoking," Tobacco Control 10(1): 16-22, March 2001.
Sargent, J.D.; Tickle, J.J.; Beach, M.L.; Dalton, M.A.; Ahrens, M.B.; Heatherton, T.F., "Brand appearances in contemporary cinema films and contribution to global marketing of cigarettes," Lancet 357(9249): 29-32, January 6, 2001.
Escamilla, G.; Cradock, A.L.; Kawachi, I., "Women and smoking in Hollywood movies: a content analysis," American Journal of Public Health 90(3): 412-414, March 2000.
Pechmann, C.; Shih, C., "Smoking scenes in movies and antismoking advertisements before movies: effects on youth," Journal of Marketing 63: 1-13, July 1999.
Goldstein, A.O.; Sobel, R.A.; Newman, G.R., "Tobacco and alcohol use in G-rated children's animated films," Journal of the American Medical Association 281(12): 1131-1136, March 24, 1999.