Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

December 5, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Tobacco companies consistently work to prevent and undermine smoke-free laws. The tobacco industry and its allies have funded hospitality associations and other third parties to oppose smoke-free laws, argue that smoke-free laws will economically damage hospitality venues, promote ventilation and voluntary smoker accommodation’ as an alternative to smoke-free laws, and to challenge smoke-free laws in court.   In 2008, the Netherlands extended its smoke-free law to hospitality venues. Despite widespread public support for smoke-free hospitality venues, opponents successfully represented these laws as unpopular and damaging to small bars. These challenges and related smokers’ rights activities resulted in non-compliance among  all bars and reinstating an exemption for small, owner-run venues. This policy reversal was the result of a weak implementing media campaign (which failed to present the law as protecting nonsmokers), smoking room exemptions and reactive (vs. proactive) measures by the Ministry of Health and civil society. The policy failure in the Netherlands is the result of poor implementation efforts and the failure to anticipate and deal with opposition to the law. When implementing smoke-free laws it is important to anticipate opposition, used the media to target non-smokers to reinforce public support, and actively enforce the law.

November 30, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

We just published a study of 205 people with heart failure in which we related measures of how well they could complete physical tasks and measures of emotional well being and found that there was a dose-response relationship between the amount of secondhand smoke that they were exposed to and reduced scores on these measures.  The bottom line: Even low levels of secondhand smoke have adverse effects on people with heart failure.  Physicians (and everyone else) should advise people with heart failure and their families to avoid secondhand smoke. Read the paper in Archives of Internal Medicine by clicking here.

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.