AG Myers Provides Hollywood With Anti-Smoking Messages For DVDs
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that for the second time he has called upon Hollywood's major motion picture studios to insert anti-smoking public service announcements in all DVDs, videos and other newer home viewing formats of movies in which smoking is depicted. This time, however, Myers and 40 other Attorneys General sent each studio three "classic" truth® anti-smoking campaign messages that were created by the American Legacy Foundation and that are available at no cost for the studios' unlimited use.
"After ignoring our 2005 letter concerning the same subject, we are hoping our latest efforts will be more acceptable to the studios," Attorney General Myers said. "Public service announcements already appear on DVDs for many worthwhile causes and organizations, and they are often linked to themes prevalent in the movies they precede. While we would like to see a reduction of smoking depictions in movies seen by youth under 18, we are hoping that the studios will take advantage of using these anti-smoking messages whenever the movie depicts smoking."
Today's letter to the studios follows a November 2005 request by 32 Attorneys General to the studios to help prevent youth smoking by inserting anti-smoking messages on movies that depict smoking. The studios never responded to the Attorneys Generals' letters. Instead, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) President Dan Glickman wrote to the Attorneys General that only the individual companies could decide whether to run PSAs on DVDs or videos and that the industry would consider PSAs as one possible idea in an overall anti-smoking campaign effort. To date, the Attorneys General have received no further indication from the studios or the MPAA of progress on an anti-smoking PSA effort.
Today's letter and the earlier request were sent to the CEOs of Paramount Pictures, The Walt Disney Company, Miramax Films, DreamWorks SKG, Sony Pictures Entertainment, MGM Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers Studios, Fox Filmed Entertainment, and New Line Cinema. Today's letter was also sent to the CEOs of three independent studios: Lionsgate, MTV Network and The Weinstein Company.
The proposed letter about PSAs is the latest in a series of actions by the Attorneys General to gain the cooperation of the movie industry in reducing youth smoking initiation by reducing depictions of smoking and tobacco brand appearances in movies and by airing effective anti-smoking PSAs.
Earlier actions include a 2003 letter from 25 Attorneys General sent to the president of the MPAA citing a Dartmouth Medical School study finding that a reduction of the prevalence of cigarette smoking depictions in movies could drastically reduce the initiation of smoking by youth.
Attorneys General also held a historical meeting with members of the Directors Guild of America's Social Responsibility Task Force, the president of the MPAA and production executives of seven major studios in 2003. The Attorneys General expressed concern that under the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), tobacco companies may not pay to have their products appear in film. However, studies indicated continued portrayal of smoking and the appearance of cigarette brand names in films and television.
In 1998, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) passed a resolution asking actors and actresses and the motion picture industry to take steps to reduce use of tobacco by youth. The resolution, citing tobacco-related illnesses and deaths caused by underage smoking, called upon members of the motion picture industry to voluntarily review the use of tobacco in film to eliminate or reduce its use, and to consider establishing public education programs specifically designed to discourage children from ever using tobacco products.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org