May 10, 2012
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster has joined 37 other Attorneys General in calling on movie producers to adopt policies against depicting tobacco use in youth-rated movies. The letter to ten production studios follows the March 8 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, which says that there is evidence that there is a causal relationship between smoking in movies and young people taking up smoking.
“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.”
Steps the studios should take include: 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 payments were made related to the tobacco depictions and; not displaying any tobacco brands, including packaging and promotional items, in all future movies.
“Nearly 10,000 Missourians die every year from smoking-related illnesses,” Koster said. “I hope the studios we are contacting will take steps to make sure young people aren’t influenced to start smoking because of what they see in their films.”
A copy of the letter and the list of the executives it was sent to can be found on the website of the National Association of Attorneys General at http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php.