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!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences