• The project is co-funded by the European Commission.

    Participating countries:
  • flag Germany
  • flag Iceland
  • flag Italy
  • flag The Netherlands
  • flag Poland
  • flag United Kingdom

Academy Awards 2012
The majority of the 2012 Oscar nominated films include Tobacco.
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Smokefree movies is a success story
A selection of successful projects funded by the EU Health Programmes.
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Smoking in movies: Impact on European youth and policy options

Background of the project

Smoking remains the single greatest preventable cause of mortality in Europe. Adolescents initiate smoking for social reasons, and social risk factors include influences such as parent and friend smoking. Tobacco marketing has also been linked with youth smoking initiation, and this serves as the basis for controls on smoking marketing contained in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which recognises that a comprehensive ban on tobacco marketing would reduce consumption.

However, a comprehensive ban on tobacco marketing does not limit other mass media venues from projecting favourable images of smoking, such as smoking in motion pictures. Movies form an extremely pervasive dimension of young people’s social environment. And they are full of tobacco images that might make smoking appear both more common and acceptable than it really is. It also strengthens the idea that cigarettes have social and cultural significance.

Recently published longitudinal research suggests that exposure to smoking in movies accounts for as much as half of adolescent initiation in the US; based on this research, we suggest that the public health community is neglecting a primary social influence underpinning of the youth tobacco epidemic – smoking in movies.

In many cases movies produced in one country are not only distributed in the origin country, but distributed internationally and presented to a broad audience in many countries. Distribution channels internationally include DVD’s, cinema and TV delivery. Sometimes movies are delivered worldwide through the internet. To really address this problem and to contribute to solve it, activities on an European level are necessary.

The present project "Smoking in movies: Impact on European youth and policy options" tries to approach the issue of smoking in movies from an European perspective. It contains three main project parts:

  1. The assessment of smoking in movies released in European countries
  2. The study of the impact of exposure to smoking in movies on European adolescents
  3. The formulation of European policy options