SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has joined states around the country urging the film industry to stop showing people using tobacco in youth-oriented movies.
Attorneys general from 38 states sent a letter to 10 motion picture studios as a follow-up to a March 8 U.S. surgeon general report that found a causal relationship between smoking in movies and young people taking up smoking.
"We mean it when we say this is a colossal, preventable tragedy," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a statement. "Everyone loves movies and we hope the movie studios will love their customers enough to take the needed steps to reduce the harm."
Smoking in movies became a bigger concern for many attorneys general in 1998 when the National Association of Attorneys General adopted a resolution calling on the industry to reduce tobacco use in feature films. The resolution came the same year as the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement that prohibited paid product placements.
The letter asks the movie studios to:
• Adopt corporate policies to eliminate tobacco use in youth-rated movies.
• Include anti-tobacco spots on all future DVDs and Blu-ray videos that depict smoking.
• Add closing credits in all future films with smoking that no payoffs were made with the tobacco industry.
• Keep all future movies free of displaying tobacco brands, packaging and promotional material.
"A point we made to studios nearly five years ago bears repeating: each time the industry releases another movie that depicts smoking, it does so with the full knowledge of the harm it will bring to children who watch it," the letter reads.