Smokefree Homes and Families
This section treats the subject of smoking as portrayed on TV and in the movies.
Smoking in the Media
American Lung Association Presents its
What messages do young people receive about tobacco use when they watch
a movie? The Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! project of the American Lung Association of
Sacramento-Emigrant Trails asked over 100 teenagers from the Sacramento and Los
Angeles areas to spend a year reviewing 133 current movies and report on their
findings. Here's a brief summary of what they learned:
Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! Results
on tobacco images in 1996 movies.
Hollywood gets a Thumbs Up! and a Thumbs Down! on the amount of tobacco
use in the movies.
- 23% of the movies showed no tobacco use.
- Of the remaining 77%, 26% had 1-10 incidents, 23% had 11-24
incidents, 18% had 25-49 incidents and 11% had over 50 incidents.
There is a direct correlation between movie rating and tobacco use.
- G rated movies had an average of less than one incident per movie.
- PG rated movies had an average of 12, PG 13 had an average of 18 and
- R rated movies had an average of 26. A number of R rated movies had
little or no tobacco use, however, and some PG movies were filled with
Studios varied tremendously in the amount of tobacco use portrayed.
- Walt Disney was low with an average of 6 incidents per movie.
- Miramax was high with an average of 46.
While only 3% of the population uses cigars, 52% of the movies displayed
- Over half of the movies with tobacco use displayed at least some cigar
- In 22% percent of the movies, cigars were used most often.
When it comes to tobacco use, it is the "stars" who smoke.
- 82% of the people using tobacco were lead and/or supporting actors.
Men used tobacco much more extensively than women.
- 94% of the movies that had tobacco use showed men using tobacco,
- 44% of the movies showed women using tobacco.
Marlboro has the highest brand exposure in the movies.
- 20% of the movies with tobacco use showed specific brand exposure.
- Marlboro was responsible for 50% of these exposures.
Anti-tobacco statements were made in 33% of the movies
- Statements were made through specific comments, visual reactions or
- Comments were made in 23% of the movies with the majority being
made by lead and/or supporting actors.
This project was made possible by a grant received from the Health
Protection Act of 1988, Proposition 99.
The winners for 1996 were:
The big losers were:
- Twister: for being a high tension adventure film with very minimal tobacco use.
- Toy Story: for being a youth orientated film with no tobacco use.
- The Rock: for being a high adventure film with very minimal tobacco use.
- Woody Harrelson: for not using tobacco and opposing its use by his wife.
- Billy Bob Thorton: for no tobacco use.
- Diane Keaton: for not using tobacco plus making a few anti-tobacco statements.
- Frances McDormand: for not using tobacco.
- Emily Watson: for not using tobacco.
- Independence Day: for glamorizing cigars.
- Jerry McGuire: for cigars that were used during a celebration.
- Shine: for extensive tobacco use (well over 100! incidents).
- Ralph Fiennes: as the English Patient who smokes.
- Tom Cruise: for promoting cigar use at his bachelor party.
- Geoffrey Rush: for continuously using tobacco throughout the entire movie, from
his teenage years through adulthood.
- Brenda Blethyn: for using tobacco plus allowing her daughter to smoke in her
- Kristen Scott Thomas: for using tobacco and glamorizing it.