Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

December 20, 2010

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

On January 1, California will start handing out tax credits for Hollywood film productions. Burlesque will be one of the first in line, set to receive $7,225,306 according to the state’s film commission. The problem from a public health standpoint? Burlesque is a PG-13 film with smoking by two major characters (Stanley Tucci, Kristen Bell). You’ll also glimpse a Camel logo, among at least twenty other alcohol, cookie, cereal and other nationally-advertised brands.   Our ad in Variety this week quotes the film’s writer/director wondering if he’ll benefit from all the commercial name dropping. We politely point out that smoking in kid-rated movies could cause regulators to question product placement in general, make advertisers screen films for smoking before getting on board, and make it harder for the major studios to claim hundreds of millions from taxpayers for what amount to 90-minute commercials.   For a perspective on California’s film subsidies, see Dan Morain’s piece in The Sacramento Bee (Dec. 12).

December 15, 2010

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD


December 13, 2010

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

We have been raising the point that the states, in the aggregate, now spend more money promoting smoking to adolescents by subsidizing movies with smoking in them than they spend on their state tobacco control programs fighting smoking. Now, influential Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Morain has taken up the issue in a December 11, 2010 column, "You get red ink with that popcorn," making the point that at a time that California California faces a deficit of $25 billion, maybe more and Speaker John A. Pérez is urging tax increases, lest welfare moms trying to find jobs lose state-funded child care and public school class sizes rise, the taxpayers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars subsidizing profitable movies made by huge media companies. Morain gives a nod to the movie issue when hes says, "The tax credit is odd in other ways. UC San Francisco medical school professor Stanton Glantz, a leader in the anti-smoking movement, notes that the state spends $78 million a year to curb smoking but gives subsidies to movies that glamorize smoking."

December 12, 2010

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health recently demonstrated that implementation of the Arizona statewide smokefree indoor air law was associated with drops in hospital admissions for not only heart attacks (which has been shown in many places already), but also for angina (chest pain), stroke, asthma.  They showed that there were drops in Arizona counties that had no smoking restrictions before the state law went into effect, but not ones that were already smokefree.  They also showed no changes in hospital admissions for diseases not cause by secondhand smoke. This is exactly what one would expect to happen if the law was making a big difference. The most important piece of information in the study, however, was a direct estimate of the hospitalization costs avoided.  In the first 13 months, the law was associated with savings of $16.8 million, 15% of hospitalization costs for these four conditions.  This is all the more impressive when you consider that the major population centers in Arizona were already smokefree.