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Young people exposed to on-screen smoking are at higher risk of vaping and COVID-19 infection
August 18, 2020

Hollywood protects its own, but exposes young viewers

The big movie studios are starting to make films againtaking over entire hotels in countries with fewer infections than the U.S. and testing cast and crew three times a week.

But the millions of young people who pay Hollywood's bills are left fully exposed. Three new research studies show:

      • TV series, as well as movies, are busy recruiting young viewers to use tobacco products (source).

      • Young Americans who smoke and vape are 5-7 times likelier to be infected with COVID-19 (source).

      • Smokers hospitalized for COVID infections are twice as likely to deteriorate, even die (source).

The CDC projects that US movies will recruit more than six million new young US smokers in this generation and kill two million. The true toll, adding in TV exposure, international audiences and a worldwide pandemic? Millions more.  

A double-barrelled threat to public health

Not only does tobacco addict and kill, but it makes COVID-19 even worse.

Movies and TV shows with smoking continue to push tobacco while the coronavirus pandemic grows. They give no advance warning of the danger to viewers before the "entertainment" starts rolling.

In late July 2020, institutional investors with more than $67 billion in assets under management wrote their media companies with urgent, specific policy fixes.

This week, UCSF Smokefree Movies is publishing a new ad and releasing a new action package — this time, directed at the companies themselves, cast in strong, business-case terms.  

Practical steps you can take

       • Share our new ad and download the Business Case package

       • Review Hollywood's recent track record. Write the media CEOs.

       • Join more than 55,000 people and sign our Change.org petition. Recommend it to family and friends (it's free and secure).

       • Ask powerful questions: Why are smoking and vaping still on kids' screens? Why do media giants ignore public health advice? Why do taxpayers pay billions to subsidise all this?