Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

September 27, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Uptick in Cinematic Smoking 
More Onscreen Tobacco Use in Movies Aimed at Young Viewers  

Top box office films last year showed more onscreen smoking than the prior year, reversing five years of steady progress in reducing tobacco imagery in movies, according to a new UCSF study.

Moreover, many of the top-grossing films of 2011 with significant amounts of smoking targeted a young audience, among them the PG-rated cartoon Rango and X-Men: First Class.” The more smoking young people see in movies, the more likely they are to start smoking, the U.S. Surgeon General has reported.

The study will be available September 27, 2012 in Preventing Chronic Disease Journal, an online, peer-reviewed publication of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

“Hollywood has still not fixed this problem,” said lead author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, a professor of medicine at UCSF and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. “The result of the increase in onscreen smoking in youth-rated films will be more kids starting to smoke and developing tobacco-induced disease.”

September 19, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

A study published in Indoor Air from the Fraunhofer Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut in Germany examined secondhand emissions from several e-cigarettes in a human exposure chamber.  Each e-cigarette was puffed 6 times and data were collected for a conventional cigarette, also puffed 6 times.

While the e-cigarette produced lower levels of toxins in the air for nonsmokers to breathe than the conventional cigarette, there were still elevated levels of acetic acid, acetone, isoprene, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, averaging around 20% of what the conventional cigarette put into the air.

Thus, while not as polluting as a conventional cigarette, the e-cigarettes are putting detectable levels of several significant carcinogens and toxins in the air. 

No one should have to breathe these chemicals, whether they come out of a conventional or e-cigarette.  No one should smoke e-cigarettes indoors that are free of other forms of tobacco smoke pollution.

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

            http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0t9099dr

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:

            http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/05/local/la-me-hollywood-tax-credit-20120906

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.

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