Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has joined 37 of his counterparts in other states in urging movie studios to adopt policies to eliminate depictions of tobacco use in movies directed at young people.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Matt Gannon says it’s no secret that Hollywood can have a huge influence on children. “Too often, you see kids at movies – movies directly marketed to kids – where smoking is ‘cool,’” Gannon says. “The attorneys general just think that it’s important to take all the steps they can to prevent kids from starting to smoke.”
A recent report from the U.S. Surgeon General suggests there’s evidence of a “causal relationship between depictions of smoking in the movies and the initiation of smoking among young people.”
Gannon says he believes the amount of smoking taking place in movies is far fetched. “If you go to a bar or restaurant in Iowa now, it’s smoke free. And to me, you go watch a movie and you see someone indoors lighting up a cigarette and you think…that just doesn’t happen anymore,” Gannon says.
A letter signed by the 38 state attorneys general was sent this week to 10 movie studios, urging them to adopt published policies to eliminate tobacco depictions in youth-rated movies. A few studios have already taken that action. Gannon says Disney, Time Warner and Comcast (Universal) should be “applauded” for adopting such written policies.