WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has issued its annual report on smoking in the movies. Total tobacco incidents per movie rose 7% from 2010 to 2011, it said, ending five years of decline. Incidents rose 34% per movie rated G, PG or PG-13 and 7% per R-rated movie.
In 2011, youth-rated movies delivered 10.7 billion tobacco impressions in theatrical release, double that in 2010 (5.5 billion). Youth-rated movies in 2011 delivered 68% of all in-theater tobacco impressions (10.7 billion out of 15.9 billion) compared with 39% (5.5 billion out of 14.2 billion) in such movies in 2010.
To monitor tobacco appearances in movies, Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down!, a project of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, counts occurrences of tobacco "incidents" (one use or implied use of a tobacco product by an actor) in movies each year. It uses trained monitors to count tobacco incidents in all movies that are among the 10 top-grossing movies in any week (83% of all movies exhibited in the United States and 98% of tickets sold in 2002–2008).
The CDC calculated impressions (one person seeing one tobacco use incident one time) for each movie by multiplying tickets sold for the movie by the number of incidents. Tickets sold were calculated by dividing the domestic box office gross receipts reported for the movie by the average U.S. ticket price in the year the movie was released. It compared results in 2011 with 2010 and with long-term trends.
In 2011, in 134 movies, the total number of tobacco incidents rose 3% (from 1,819 to 1,881) from 2010 to 2011 despite there being five fewer movies in the 2011 sample than the 139 in 2010. Overall, the number of tobacco incidents per movie increased 7% (from 13.1 to 14.0).
Changes varied by MPAA rating. Incidents per G and PG movie climbed 311% (from 0.8 to 3.2) and per PG-13 movie, 9% (from 10.7 to 11.6); tobacco incidents per youth-rated movie (G, PG, and PG-13 combined) rose 34% (from 6.5 to 8.8). Incidents per R-rated movie increased 7% (26.0 to 27.8).
Ending a multiyear upward trend, no substantial change occurred in the share of movies that were free of tobacco depictions in 2011 compared with 2010. Of top-grossing movies, 54% (72) were free of tobacco depictions in 2011 compared with 56% (78) in 2010. Among movies rated G or PG, 82% (27 of 33) were smoke-free in 2011 compared with 89% (34 of 38) in 2010. Among PG-13 movies, 53% (34 of 64) were smoke-free in 2011 compared with 57% (30 of 53) in 2010. Among R movies, 30% were smoke-free in both 2011 (11 of 37) and 2010 (14 of 47).
Tobacco brands continued to appear in top-grossing movies in 2011: Marlboro, Copenhagen, Camel, and Kool were used by the lead actors and a supporting actor in five top-grossing movies (four R rated, one PG-13 rated), all distributed by Sony. In 2010, Marlboro, Camel, Winston and Newport appeared on billboards or packaging in four top-grossing movies (three R rated, one PG rated).
Click here to view the complete results. [Editor's Note: CSP Daily Newsdoes not endorse the opinions, assertions, conclusions or recommendations found in the CDC's report.]