Some are calling it a "landmark deal." The six major U.S. motion picture studios have agreed to put anti-smoking advertisements on the DVDs of some movies that show people smoking. This will deliver an important health message to American teens. Here's VOA's Carol Pearson.
When American children and teenagers rent DVDs of movies that show people smoking, they will likely first see an anti-smoking commercial that talks about the glamour of smoking versus the reality.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says teenagers are twice as likely to pick up the habit if they see cigarette smoking in movies, on television, or in cigarette ads.
Also, tobacco companies use menthol flavor to get young people to smoke, says a new study to be published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Six major motion picture studios have decided to present the anti-smoking commercials in partnership with the state of California and a charitable foundation connected to the entertainment industry.
"We are under no illusion that this single step constitutes the "silver bullet", but we're going to continue to do our part to raise awareness of the very real public health consequences of smoking," said Dan Glickman of the Motion Picture Association of America..
The anti-smoking messages will not be in DVDs of movies intended for adults.
The entertainment industry defends its right to show people smoking in motion pictures, as does former actor and current Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"I personally don't believe we should erase cigarettes in [from] movies," Governor Schwarzenegger said. "I don't think we should erase when someone smokes a cigar in movies. I think we should remind people and kids, all the time, about the dangers of smoking."
Anti-smoking groups say more than half of youth-rated movies contain smoking.
They cite research that shows these images can influence 200,000 American teenagers each year to start smoking. The messages are intended for American youth, but some of the DVDs containing anti-smoking messages could end up in international markets.