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   San Francisco Chronicle
Fox was the studio closest to Big Tobacco...Last year, Fox Searchlight Pictures released a biopic of Billie Jean King, who served on Philip Morris’ board for five years. Philip Morris used women’s tennis to push Virginia Slims to young women.
   Toronto Star
Studios also face pressure overseas from the World Health Organization, which has called for governments to implement more aggressive regulation of movies that contain tobacco imagery. India, France and Britain are among the countries where action has been taken or is being discussed.
   GlobalNewswire
Top executives of Philip Morris (later Altria) and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (later Fox) served on each other’s boards of directors for twenty-five years, from 1989 to 2013. A 1985 memorandum from the tobacco company’s CEO, discovered in the course of lawsuits against the tobacco company, named Mr. Murdoch as a media proprietor “sympathetic with our position … an ally that we can and should exploit.”
   The New York Times
…[A]ntismoking advocates want Mr. Iger to extend [Disney's tobacco depictions] rule to all future youth-rated films (G, PG, PG-13) made by Fox and its Fox Searchlight specialty label, which are among the assets that Disney is buying from Rupert Murdoch for $54.2 billion. Among other things, activists want “graphic health warnings” added to youth-rated films in the Fox library that depict smoking — like “Avatar” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” — before selling them on DVD or via video-on-demand services.
   The Guardian
The campaigners want the communications regulator, Ofcom, and the British Board of Film Classification to monitor youth exposure to depictions of tobacco use on screen, to discourage any depictions of tobacco use and require broadcasters or cinemas to run anti-smoking adverts during presentations that feature smoking.
   Action on Smoking and Health
In a strongly worded submission to the Select Committee on Science and Technology ASH and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol studies warn that smoking on TV and in films encourages children to take up smoking. They point out that children in the UK are still exposed to significant amounts of smoking on screen and that it is the amount of smoking that is important, not whether it is glamourised or not.
   The Fix
Among TV shows popular with teens and young adults, Netflix had the most portrayals of tobacco use.
   New Zealand Herald
Regardless of why the characters are seen smoking, it's striking that many of the shows included in the study, such as Stranger Things and Fuller House, are aimed at children. We also know that the normalisation of tobacco use in movies does have a strong impact on a child's risk of future tobacco use," David Hill, chairman for the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Communications and Media told US News and World Report.
   The Washington Post
The Truth Initiative — the nonprofit anti-tobacco organization — released a study that compared seven popular Netflix shows to seven popular broadcast shows. In this sample it found Netflix’s shows featured characters smoking almost three times as often as those produced by broadcast networks like NBC, ABC and CBS.
   USA Today
[Truth Initiative's Robin] Koval suggests smoking on TV shows could increase if streaming services continue to rapidly expand programming and don’t adopt policies discouraging smoking, like those in place at the broadcast networks.
   PR Newswire
Majority of programs popular with young audiences prominently depict smoking, with "Stranger Things" the worst offender.
   Variety
Netflix shows contained 319 “tobacco incidents” — more than twice the number in broadcast and cable TV shows, which had 139, per the watchdog organization’s analysis of top series for the 2015-16 season.
   Global News
“We know that there is a direct correlation between youths seeing (smoking) in films and also them beginning to be tobacco consumers or even just trying it,” said Peterborough Public Health peer leader and presenter Meagan Lacombe. “It’s also a concern because films are the last place that tobacco companies can advertise to youth.” [VIDEO]
   Global News
As the world gets ready for this Sunday’s Academy Awards, some Vancouver students are playing the role of movie critic. [Vancouver students] have kept a close eye on acting and cinematography and spotted something they don't like. Linda Aylesworth tells us what they're doing about it. [VIDEO]
   Smoke-Free Alberta
The [provincial] government received an “F” for failing to protect Alberta youth from the depiction of smoking in youth-rated movies and a “D” for not implementing and enforcing approved legislation to prohibit tobacco sales to minors. [Full report at http://bit.ly/2FYcwdx]
   The Fix
“Tobacco companies used to pay studios, directors [and] actors for product placement on the screen,” said [Erika] Sward [of the American Lung Association]. “We know that was one of the ways that the tobacco industry directly marketed their products, many of which were aimed at young people. That was prior to the Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco companies in 1998, but we still do see a great deal of tobacco use in the movies and on screen. It was way back in 1964 [that] the Surgeon General concluded that smoking causes lung cancer.”
   Financial Times
An advocacy group that uses proxy resolutions to spur consumer-electronics chains and oil producers to change practices is turning its attention to mutual fund companies that invest in tobacco — and Hollywood. [News article is subscription only]
   Deadline
It’s early days for this latest salvo in France’s bid to reduce the nation’s nicotine intake, and it’s unclear if there would be a move to factor smoking into the ratings system. While many agree that system is in need of an overhaul after several certifications have been challenged in recent years — mostly owing to sex and violence — one industry executive tells me of a hard crackdown on smoking: “If it’s a battle they start, I don’t believe it’s going to work. Society’s mood is going to be, ‘What? No way.’ It would be ridiculed.”
   The Guardian (UK)
The debate was ignited after the Socialist senator Nadine Grelet-Certenais accused France’s film-makers of continuing to advertise for the tobacco industry. “Seventy per cent of new French films have at least one scene of someone smoking. This more or less helps to make its use banal, even promote it, to children and adolescents,” Grelet-Certenais told the Sénat, the upper house of parliament.
   The Telegraph
Health Minister Agnés Buzyn said she would be contacting the French culture minister - whose remit includes the country’s film industry - to discuss the issue and that so-far unspecified “measures” would be taken to make French directors and screenwriters kick their tobacco habit.
   Vanity Fair
Montgomery, who’s not a smoker, had to learn how to make it look convincing. But the Stranger Things cast doesn’t use Hollywood-standard herbal cigarettes: they use real Marlboro Reds. Why? “The smoke plays so much thicker onscreen,” says Montgomery. Plus, he’s fairly certain that co-stars David Harbour and Winona Ryder “just wanted to smoke real cigarettes.” Over the course of a five-hour shoot, Montgomery would go through “three or four packs,” then wake up the next day with a smoke-induced hangover.
   The Village Voice
The state spends $600 million a year to subsidize film and TV productions, yet promised job and tax gains remain elusive.
   Daily Mail
A clampdown has been urged at Westminster against smoking on the reality TV show Love Island amid concerns it is glamorising the habit to young viewers. Liberal Democrat peer Lord Storey said contestants on the ITV programme regularly smoked and pressed ministers over the message this sent to youngsters.
   Millennium Post
India's Health Ministry has asked the Telecom Ministry to enforce running 30-second anti-tobacco messages before films and television programs with tobacco imagery, a policy followed by movie theaters and broadcasters but not by Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, and other streamers in India.
   As You Sow
Investors with $64 billion urge Hollywood studios to make youth-rated movies tobacco-free, as a new web-platform from As You Sow tracks investments in tobacco and entertainment companies that promote tobacco to kids.
   Catholic Health World
Making movies smoke-free could save about a million lives. That is a claim Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health makes in a public activism campaign it launched this year to end the portrayal of smoking in movies — and most especially in youth-rated films.
   Huffington Post
Movies are entertainment, an escape from reality. The best films make us laugh and cry; we come away feeling more alive. Yet the facts show that movies can lead to real deaths, too. So to everyone in Hollywood involved in the ratings system, the choice is yours. Which side do you want to be on?
   CBS Radio
Study after study has shown the tobacco related imagery in movies can influence children to begin smoking. [Includes audio link]
   Healio
“Most smokers are enticed into nicotine addiction as children, and the American film industry must take assertive action now to ensure that our kids are not lured into using this uniquely lethal product by depictions of smoking in major motion pictures," said Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society.
   Xinhua
According to the U.S. CDC, exposure to on-screen smoking will recruit more than six million U.S. children to smoke, of whom two million will die prematurely from tobacco-induced cancer, heart disease, lung disease or stroke.