Tobacco industry using movies as "last frontier"

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Photo: World Bank

The tobacco industry is using films and the entertainment sector as a "last frontier" to push their products.

That from the World Health Organization (WHO), which is calling on governments to rate movies and television programmes that have scenes showing people smoking.

WHO says millions of lives could be saved by reducing young peoples' exposure to such imagery.

Veronica Reeves has the story.

WHO says depicting tobacco use on-screen is a powerful marketing strategy for the tobacco industry; a technique that entices young people to take up the habit which could ultimately cost them their life.

Dr Armando Peruga is from WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative.

"WHO is concerned that the tobacco industry is using the film and entertainment products as a last frontier to promote their products."

A study recently completed by the United States Center for Disease Control concluded that continued on-screen smoking could recruit more than 6 million new, young smokers; 2 million of which would ultimately die from tobacco-related causes.

Dr Peruga said the fact that films and television programmes can now easily reach every corner of the globe makes it all the more important that governments act decisively.

"Governments should require an age classification ratings for films with tobacco imagery to reduce the overall exposure of youth."

WHO has also called for film creators to certify at the end of movies that they were not paid for showing tobacco products in their production.

Experts say that requiring strong anti-smoking advertisements at the beginning of films with tobacco-use imagery would also serve as a strong deterrent.

Veronica Reeves, United Nations.

Duration: 1'22"

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