According to a survey published in PLoS Medicine, those subsidies, along with government inaction on stricter ratings for movies that depict smoking, also promote youth smoking and undermine tobacco control efforts.
In California, approximately 70 percent of all released PG-13 movies subsidized under the state's program depict smoking, researchers have independently found.
"California's state film subsidy program is undermining its longstanding tobacco control efforts," said lead author Stanton Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the Smoke Free Movies Project based at UCSF. "These activities never made sense, but are even more remarkable at a time when health and education programs are being slashed."
"In addition to ending subsidies for films that promote smoking, modernizing the rating system to give smoking films an R rating will provide a market incentive for producers to keep smoking out of movies that they market to adolescents."
In the United States, 40 states offer a combined $1.3 billion in film and video "production incentives" to the film industry, the article reports citing data from 2008. The bulk of the annual funds come from five states: New York, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
"These grants, commonly in the form of tax credits, cover 25 percent of Hollywood's day-to-day production costs," the study said. "TV series and undistributed low-budget film also draw from the subsidy pool."
In California, which has provided film subsidies since 2009, a bill currently pending would extend a state subsidy of $500 million for an additional five years. Health groups and the Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee, which advises California officials on tobacco-related issues, have urged that the bill be amended to make ineligible future film and TV productions with tobacco imagery or branding.
Previous studies have estimated that exposure to on-screen smoking accounts for 44 percent of all adolescent smokers in the United States, with more than one million teens nationwide currently smoking. Almost all of their exposure to smoking comes from films produced by U.S. studios.
About half of movies in the United States with smoking are rated "R" for other reasons, namely because of violent or sexual content or because of graphic language, meaning that they cannot be marketed directly to youth.
In Canada and the United Kingdom, however, most of these movies are re-rated as appropriate for teens or children, largely because of more permissive attitudes toward language and sex. As a result, youths in these countries experience greater exposure to onscreen smoking, suggesting that more Canadian or British youths may begin to smoke due to smoking in films than youths in the United States, the researchers conclude. In 2010, 45 percent of films with smoking were rated for youth in the United States, 93 percent in the UK, and 82 percent in Canada.
The World Health Organization and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend that in the future films with smoking be given an adult rating (R in the U.S.).
In July, the CDC drew attention to the problem of state subsidies being provided to movies that promote smoking, advising that states harmonize their film subsidies with their public health imperatives by making productions with smoking ineligible for taxpayer subsidies.
Co-authors are Christopher Millet, PhD, a clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London, and Jonathan R. Polansky, a consultant with Onbeyond LLC in Fairfax, California.
The authors report no direct funding for their article.
UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.
Follow UCSF on Twitter @ucsf/@ucsfscience
Elizabeth Fernandez | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy