Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

October 3, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Jonathan Polansky and I just published a paper in the peer reviewed journal Tobacco Control that analyzed how much money 1232 moves released in the USA between 2002 and 2010 made. After controlling for when the movie was released, the film rating and production budget (a proxy for presence of stars, production values of the film and how heavily the film was promoted), we found that films with smoking grossed 13% less than comparable smokefree movies.

Because PG-13 smokefree films already made 41% more money at the box office than R-rated films with smoking (median $48.6 million vs. $34.4  million), implementing an R rating for smoking to remove it from youth-rated films will not conflict with the economic self interest of producers.

Even smokefree R rated movies made more money than smoking R movies.

Indeed, given Hollywood's obsession with making money, one wonders what the incentive is to keep the smoking in films.  Art?

Read the paper at  

September 28, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The WHO has issued an updated version of its report, "Smoke-free Movies: From Evidence to Action."  This report updates the science (and had the benefit of advance copies of the recent research from Europe as well as knowledge of Simon Chapman's position), reviews the state of policy making around the world, and directlt  addresses the new issue of government subsidies to films with smoking. 

Here is what the report says about these subsidies: "These subsidies indirectly promote tobacco use through media, and therefore are counter to WHO FCTC Article 13 and its guidelines."  This is a particularly important conclusion in light of the fact that the EU has opened a public consultation on the issue of film subsidies and the EU is a party to the FCTC.  So is Canada, another FCTC party, where advocates are raising the issue of subsidies to films with smoking.

Here is how the WHO describes the new report on its web site (I added the bold):

WHO releases the second edition of the smoke-free movies report. It underlines the fact that, in some countries, many of the youth-rated films that contain tobacco imagery are the recipients of significant government production subsidies.

September 28, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Hard evidence shows that implementing policies to cut tobacco use immediately improves health and reduces health care spending, say authors in this week's issue of The Lancet. The researchers' myth-busting Viewpoint argues that tobacco control does not, as is often assumed, take decades to show a benefit, nor does the economic benefit from tobacco revenue outweigh the healthcare savings.

Tobacco is responsible for about a sixth of the non-communicable diseases  - such as cancer - that kill 60% of the world's people. Last week, a high-level UN meeting convened to discuss how to prevent such diseases and adopted a wide-ranging "political declaration". This declaration recognised the importance of non-communicable diseases and the significant role of tobacco in causing them. It also pledged member states to work to reduce these diseases. While the benefits of cutting out tobacco use are now well-known, legislation and policies curtailing its use are still too weak and not widespread enough, say Prof Stanton Glantz and Mariaelena Gonzalez, at the University of California, San Francisco, USA. The reasons for this are the short-term revenue from tobacco taxes and the myth that the benefits of cutting tobacco use takes decades to materialise.

September 27, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Smoke Free Movies ran this ad in Variety today to help educate the new MPAA president, former US Senator Christopher Dodd, about whether he can trust what he haers from his staff on the MPAA's record on smoking in movies.  The full ad is at

Smoke Free Movies has launched a series of print advertisements in Variety and other publications. This advertisement first ran in the September 27, 2011 edition of Variety and September 28, 2011 edition of The Hollywood Reporter.

10 things Christopher Dodd needs to know about the MPAA

In May 2007, the MPAA claimed to state Attorneys General that it had shifted policy and “considers” all smoking when rating films. Since then:

1) More than 170 top-grossing movies rated PG and PG-13 have delivered 30 billion tobacco impressions to US theater audiences.

2) The MPAA has not publicly identified any film given an R-rating because of its tobacco content.

3) “Tobacco” and “smoking” are mentioned nowhere in the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Rules (2010).

September 21, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

In considering any applications for modified risk tobacco products, the FDA should give serious consideration to the fact that the major tobacco companies are currently subject to an on-going federal court orderunder the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act for creating an illegal racketeering enterprise for the purpose of defrauding the public. The court also found that the pattern of past activities that led to this decision is continuing and likely to continue in the future.

Creation and promotion of products that were presented to and perceived by the public as “safer” than conventional cigarettes when, in fact, they were not, has been and remains a central element of this fraud. Modified risk” products have a strong potential for simply being the latest chapter in this fraud.

Manipulation of science and the presentation of scientific results has also been a central element of the fraud. For these reasons, the FDA should be extremely sceptical of any scientific results or claims advanced by any tobacco company or any organization with funding or other connections to the tobacco industry.  Searching the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library ( for industry documents related to “harm reduction” yields many documents that were withheld on the grounds of attorney-client privilege.