Smoking imagery inappropriate in youth-rated movies

To the Editor:

If Hollywood is the ultimate litmus test when it comes to what is popular and the “in” thing, then we should be concerned about the effects that celebrity icons and their on-screen behavior have on our youth. 

A few years back, the United States Surgeon General warned that watching movies with characters who smoke causes kids to start smoking.  As a result of the U.S. Surgeon General’s  findings, one may think the movie industry would eliminate or decrease smoking imagery in youth-rated movies and become an ally in the effort to prevent youth smoking.

However, no consideration was given to voluntarily adopt a policy addressing smoking imagery in youth-rated movies.  In fact, just the opposite occurred.

It’s unconscionable to know that the movie industry moved full steam ahead and increased the number of tobacco incidents in youth-rated movies by 98 percent, putting hundreds of thousands of youth at risk of addiction, disease, and premature death. 

Shame on the movie industry for chasing the mighty dollar rather than using its clout to make a positive impact on reducing youth smoking rates.

Amanda Kosich
Program Assistant
Reality Check of Albany, Schenectady & Rensselaer Counties
Capital Region BOCES

More Letters to the Editor