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AAP Statement on Smoking as Depicted in Movies Aimed at Youth



By: Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics

“When children see a glamorous character smoking in a movie, they are more likely to smoke. The evidence of that connection is clear and unrefuted. So it is alarming that 1 in 4 movies aimed at children contain smoking images, as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics is disappointed that, despite strong research that shows the dangers of tobacco depicted in the media, film-makers continue to glamorize smoking in youth-rated movies. This is unacceptable. Ninety percent of smokers start their habit in their teen years, going on to suffer the insidious effects of addiction.

“Since 2008, the AAP has supported the Smoke Free Movies campaign, which asks movie producers to adopt an “R” rating for any movie featuring tobacco imagery. All movies that depict tobacco use should be preceded by strong warnings of the harms of tobacco using messages that are relevant to teens. While smoking in youth-rated movies declined steadily from 2005-2010, those efforts have since stalled, and in 2016 one in every three PG-rated movies showed images of tobacco use.

“Unless the film industry acts to keep smoking out of youth-rated movies, millions more will be influenced to smoke, resulting in tobacco-induced cancers, heart and lung disease, or stroke. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges film-makers to remove depictions of smoking and tobacco use in U.S. movies that are geared toward children. Film-makers can and must do better.”

For more information, visit the AAP’s Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence. 

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit