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After the exchange between Professor Stanton Glantz and Disney CEO Bob Iger in which Mr. Iger said that the studios did not control MPAA ratings policy, the four health groups that last met with the MPAA wrote Iger confirming to him that the MPAA had said that the studios are the policymakers.  The MPAA just implements the policy.
 
Disney, along with the 5 other major studios, make up the MPAA Board of Directors.
 
Here is their/sites/tobacco.ucsf.edu/files/u9/Disney%20Group%20Letter%20Final%20SIGS%203.18.15.pdf" target="_blank"; letter:
 
March 18, 2015
 
 
Robert Iger
Chairman and CEO
The Walt Disney Company
500 S Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91505
 
 
Dear Mr. Iger,
 
As public health organizations committed to reducing tobacco use we thank you for strengthening Disney’s smoke-free movies policy. In America, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death resulting in 480,000 premature deaths a year. 
 
Disney’s actions are an important step to help prevent millions of teens from beginning to smoke. In 2012 the United States Surgeon General concluded that exposure to onscreen smoking causes young people to start smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subsequently concluded that an R rating for movies featuring smoking would be expected to reduce the number of teen smokers by nearly twenty percent preventing one million deaths from smoking among children alive today.
 
While we are delighted by Disney’s actions, eliminating smoking in youth rated movies is a policy that should be adopted industry-wide.  In fact, our organizations have repeatedly advocated that youth rated movies should be rated R unless the movie clearly and unambiguously reflects the dangers and consequences of smoking or if it accurately depicts the behavior of an actual, historical figure.  We have had discussions with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), but have been told repeatedly that it will not act without direction from the studios.  Since data indicate that individual movie company policies alone have not been shown to be efficient in minimizing smoking in movies, we hope Disney can take a leadership role within the MPAA to move it towards a rating system that prohibits smoking in youth rated movies.
 
We appreciate Disney’s leadership on this issue and we welcome collaboration to encourage other studios to eliminate on-screen smoking and tobacco use as a cause of youth smoking.
 
Sincerely,
 
JONATHAN D. KLEIN, MD, MPH, FAAP
Associate Executive Director and Director, Julius B Richmond Center
American Academy of Pediatrics
 
HAROLD P. WIMMER
National President and CEO
American Lung Association
 
MATTHEW L. MYERS
President
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
 
ROBIN KOVAL
President and CEO
Legacy

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