Pennsylvania is one of 11 states that subsidized 93 percent of recent top-grossing movies featuring characters who smoke, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco–and one of seven states that gave more money to those movies than it spent on tobacco prevention.
According to an ad placed in State Legislatures magazine by SmokeFreeMovies, a project of UCSF professor Stanton Glantz, Pennsylvania subsidized production of 24 movies between 2008 and 2012, of which 16 included smoking. It says the industry got $18 million a year in subsidies from the commonwealth for movies that included smoking, and spent $14 million in 2012 on smoking prevention.
“Seven states are now spending more subsidizing movies that promote smoking to kids than they are spending fighting smoking,” writes Glantz, director of UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, in a new post on his blog.
The post comes 50 years after the Surgeon General of the United States released the first Report on Smoking and Health. It came out on a Saturday to maximize coverage in the Sunday newspapers and, Surgeon General Luther L. Terry recalled, “It hit like a bombshell.” The Surgeon General’s report, drawing from over 7,000 scientific articles and 150 consultants, made clear that significant increases in deaths and illness were the result of smoking.