1 Global health treaty backs smokefree movies | 180 countries are parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), in force since 2005. The FCTC calls for implementation of comprehensive, evidence-based tobacco control strategies. Article 13 calls for an effective ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in all media. Article 13's guidelines explicitly call for:

  • Film producers to certify no tobacco pay-offs
  • Ending tobacco brand display on screen
  • Anti-tobacco advertisements before any film or program depicting tobacco
  • Adult film ratings that keep the movies kids see tobacco-free.

2 WHO targets public subsidies for smoking films | In 2010, mounting evidence led WHO to find that public subsidies for media productions with tobacco are "counter to WHO FCTC Article 13 and its guidelines." From 2010 to 2016, more than a dozen nations awarded movies with smoking $3.1 billion in tax credits and other subsidies. These films delivered hundreds of billions of tobacco impressions to theater audiences worldwide.

3 Tobacco deals outside the US remain unrestricted | While the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement in the US prohibits domestic tobacco firms from placing brands on screen, movies remain the last unrestricted channel for promoting tobacco to kids worldwide. The film industry and the tobacco industry are both multinational, operating globally. Both industries chase the same young consumers. Only if countries address smoking in movies, most exported from the US, can they slow a tobacco epidemic projected to kill a billion people in this century.

4 Heavy-smoking R-rated films are dumped into youth markets overseas | On average, films R-rated in the US include twice as much smoking as PG-13 films. Yet other countries' rating systems — less restrictive than the US about sexual content — let teens of 12 or 15 attend these films. Adolescents in Canada, the UK, and the European Union likely get even more exposure to on-screen smoking than their US peers — and pay an even higher price.

5 Smokefree Movies' international week of action | Each spring, leading up to the Academy Awards telecast, members of the Smokefree Movies action network unite on a message to make news. From Nigeria to the UK, Canada to New Zealand, demonstrations, social media campaigns, and paid advertising score public attention just when Hollywood tries to put on the glitz. 

Support for 18 Rating

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Members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada, have called on their province's film rating agency to reduce youth exposure to onscreen smoking.

Read the Petition. (104.08 KB)


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Paying For Smoking Films


Top 8 nations |  Public subsidies for top-grossing films with smoking, 2010-2017

1 | USA $1.92 billion
2 | UK $733 million
3 | Canada $462 million
4 | New Zealand $193 million
5 | Australia $129 million
6 | Germany $116 million
7 | Hungary $67 million
8 | France $59 million