If a movie is meant for teens or young adults, Attorney General George Jepsen does not think any of the characters in it should be smoking.
Jepsen is one of the attorneys general from 37 states and U.S. territories asking 10 movie studio executives to eliminate depictions of smoking and tobacco from movies aimed at a young audience because, they said, it has a negative influence and encourages them to smoke.
“Advertisers have long understood that people are influenced to buy what they see on television and in movies,” Jepsen said in a news release. “What we don’t want young people to buy is the idea that smoking is cool and something they should try.”
The U.S. Surgeon General report, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, found that while images of smoking in movies have declined over the past decade, in 2010, nearly a third of the top-grossing movies produced with ratings of G, PG or PG-13 contained images of smoking, Jepsen said.
In addition to removing smoking from films, the attorneys general are asking film company executives to include anti-tobacco spots on DVDs and Blu-ray videos of films that depict smoking, to certify in the closing credits in future movies with tobacco imagery that no payoffs were made in connection with any tobacco depictions and to keep future movies free of displays of tobacco brands.