Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

November 22, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

In theaters this Wednesday, November 23, director Martin Scorsese's PG-rated Hugo, set in 1930s Paris, has earned a "smoking" descriptor from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The movie was produced by GK Films (Graham King, Santa Monica), whose other recent smoking films include The Rum Diary (R), Rango (PG) and The Tourist (PG-13).

Hugo is distributed by Viacom's Paramount, one of three major US studios lacking any published policy on screen smoking  with a corresponding poor performance on keeping smoking out of its youth-rated films.

Viacom opened 2011 with the animated, PG-rated Rango (50+ tobacco incidents).

Hugo, budgeted at $170 million, shot some exteriors in Paris but mainly filmed on UK soundstages, where government grants cover 16% of production costs. 

A 2011 report concluded that the UK government spent more than twice as much subsidizing US studio movies with smoking each year than on its anti-tobacco media campaigns.

November 19, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

There is a clear double standard in the way that the courts are considering “public health” justifications when identifying the limits of the First Amendment. 

Assertions of the need to “protect public health” have been widely used by authorities to shut down Occupy Wall Street camps around the country despite the fact that the occupation, symbolized by the tent, is at the center of the frankly political statement the occupiers are making.  My wife, a public health nurse, has been volunteering to help staff the first aid tent at the San Francisco Occupy encampment and has been impressed with the porta-potties and general cleanliness.  (When I went down there with her last week to deliver some supplies, I thought the same thing.)  She summed it up this way: “It’s a lot cleaner than the Tenderloin or Mid-Market, which often smell of urine,” poor areas near City Hall.

November 13, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The Government of India has taken a important step forward today to begin to reduce the use of motion pictures to promote tobacco use by requiring anti-tobacco advertisements to be shown in conjunction with any movie that includes tobacco use, whether it is made in India or not.

This policy represents India’s implementation of the Smoke Free Movies recommendation, endorsed by the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a wide range of health organizations, that any film including tobacco include anti-tobacco advertisements.

November 12, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Here is the public comment we just submitted supporting a US Department of Transportation proposal to prohibit use of e-cgarettes on airplanes. The comment period ends on Monday; I urge everyone to submit comments at the website below.

November 12, 2011

Docket Management Facility
US Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Room W12-140
Washington, DC 20590-0001
http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOT-OST-2011-0044-0003

RE: Docket No. DOT-OST-2011-0044 Smoking of Electronic Cigarettes on Aircraft

  Gentlemen and Ladies:

We support the prohibition of using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) on aircraft. E-cigarettes are unregulated nicotine delivery devices that emit an unknown mixture of chemicals into the air. Use on an aircraft would increase the level or air pollution inside the aircraft cabin and subject passengers and flight crew to the toxic chemicals in the exhaled “vapor.”

November 9, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

USA Today and the New York Times recently published articles that uncritically accepted assertions that smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes were useful as cessation tools.  Both of these studies were funded by tobacco/e-cigarette companies that had direct financial interests in the outcome of the work.  Both Brad Rodu (smokeless tobacco) and Riccardo Polosa (e-cigarettes) also worked as consultants to the companies making products they were evaluating.

The USA Today story on Brad Rodu's "Switch and Quit" smokeless tobacco study did note that he was (and has been for years) supported by tobacco companies and included Rodu's claim that "There's absolutely no influence whatsoever" by the companies.  USA Today did not mention all the evidence of bias in industry funded studies.

In both stories, people and organizations who questioned claims that smokeless tobacco and e-cigs were useful cessation measures were painted as closed minded prohibitionists

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