Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

September 19, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Good Start Out of the Gate: Tobacco Industry Political Influence and Tobacco Policymaking in Kentucky 1936-2012

by Michelle Washington, Richard Barnes and Stanton Glantz

Kentucky, a leading tobacco producing state in the U.S. and home to Brown and Williamson and Commonwealth Brands tobacco companies, has a significant historic, economic, and social heritage tied to tobacco. Until 2004 tobacco was grown in all but one county in the state, mostly on small family farms. The significant tobacco industry presence created a historical resistance to tobacco control efforts.

To influence policymakers, between 1994 and 2010 the tobacco industry contributed $311,614 to Kentucky political parties and individual candidates running for state-level offices, focusing contributions around pivotal elections, with candidates for governor and key legislative leadership being the largest recipients. Additionally, between 1993 and 2012, the tobacco industry spent $9.7 million in lobbying expenditures.

September 11, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Despite California's ongoing severe budget problems, with cuts to schools and health care and skyrocketing college tuition, the California Legislature passed AB2026, which gives $500 million over 5 years in subsidies to movie companies, including for films that promote smoking.

We have done a report on the health damage that these subsidies do, which is available at


This giveaway has been justified with claims that it will help the economy and create jobs.  On Sept. 5, the LA Times published a story by Evan Halper on the film subsidy extension bills now on the Governor's desk (AB 2026 / SB 1197). The article cited much of the economic critique from outside the film industry:


Subsequently, the LA Times' PolitiCal blog (by Chris Megerian, Sacramento) followed up, quoting the American Lung Association's May 2012 letter calling for movies with smoking to be made ineligible for state subsidies:

August 19, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Jim Sargent and colleagues recently published a new study providing a long-term followup of an earlier study (published in 2005) that yielded an attributable risk for smoking initiation due to the movies of 26%.  Adding in this 2012 Sargent study to the four earlier studies that we used to estimate that the attributable risk for smoking initiation due to the movies was 44% lowers the pooled estimate to 37% with a 95% confidence interval extending from 25% to 52%.  (Our earlier estimate, published in Thorax, was 44% with a confidence interval from 34% to 58%.) 

From a statistical point of view, these two estimates are indistinguishable, but the 37% value is the more reliable one since it is based on more information than  the earlier estimate.

More details are available here.

July 20, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

From a friend (with a little editing by me):
The new Katy Perry movie, Part of Me, which is "smoke free," is accompanied by a "bonus feature" that gets glamorized cigarettes in front of 10-14 year old girls.
After the previews, but before the movie began there was a blast from the past-- the screen showed the Paramount Studios' "vault" opening to reveal the Olivia Newton John smoking her cigarette in the final scene from Grease. As words and cartoon icons flashed a sing-a-long across the screen, she smoked it
seductively before being coached to fling it at John Travolta's feet.
If you've never seen this scene, here's a link. The cigarette is portrayed as a significant part of what has transformed squeaky clean Sandy into a strong
sexy woman.

July 18, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

New research from Dartmouth shows that eliminating smoking from youth-rated PG-13 films would cut youth smoking by 18%, a gigantic effect.

Jim Sargent and his colleagues followed a national sample of nearly 6000 students for 2 years to assess the relationship between the amount of smoking they saw onscreen in movies and the likelihood that the youth would start smoking.  Moving beyond their earlier work that simply looked at the total amount of smoking youth were exposed to, the Dartmouth group separated the effects of smoking in G/PG, PG-13 and R rated films.  (There was little exposure to smoking in G/PG films.)

The study found that, while individual R rated films have, on average, more smoking than PG-13 films, youth received about 3 times as much exposure to onscreen smoking in PG-13 films than R rated films.