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Smoking in the Movies

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Tobacco in Youth-Rated Movies2

  • This infographic shows that 2015 youth-rated (G, PG, PG-13) movies included less smoking than the year before.
    • Incidents per movie decreased 46%, from from 13.7 to 7.4.
    • PG-13 movies that were tobacco-free decreased to 53% (31of 59 movies) from 54% (33 of 61 movies).
    • Youth-rated movies delivered 2.7 billion tobacco impressions to theater audiences—a 75% decrease from 2014.
  • Performance by movie studio varied.
    • The Walt Disney Company, which had no tobacco incidents in its youth-rated movies in 2014, had the most per youth-rated film in 2015 at 11.2.
    • Comcast’s Universal and Viacom’s Paramount had the fewest tobacco incidents per youth-rated films: 1 or less.
    • The Walt Disney Company delivered the largest share of youth-rated tobacco impressions at 39% (1.1billion of 2.7 billion), followed by Twenty-First Century Fox at 17% (456 million of 2.7 billion).
    • Comcast and Viacom together contributed 5% of tobacco impressions (149 million of 2.7 billion)—a 95% decrease from their 3.2 billion impressions in 2014.
  • Half of the so-called major movie companies that published corporate tobacco depiction policies before 2013 (The Walt Disney Company, Twenty-First Century Fox, and Time Warner) averaged more tobacco incidents in their 2015 youth-rated movies than in their 2014 movies. Comcast, Sony, and Viacom, which also published polices, and the independent movie companies averaged fewer tobacco incidents.

Tobacco Incidents in Top-Grossing Movies by MPAA Rating, 1991–20152

  • This graph shows that the total number of tobacco incidents in movies has fluctuated over more than 20 years, ranging from a low of 1,612 incidents in 1998 to a high of 3,962 incidents in 2005.
  • A 5-year reduction to 1,825 incidents reversed in 2010.
  • After exceeding 2,500 incidents from 2011 to 2014, tobacco incidents in 2015 returned to a level somewhat below 2010.
  • Movies rated G and PG accounted for 1 of every 20 (5%) tobacco incidents in 2015.
  • Movies rated PG-13 accounted for 30 of every 100 (30%) incidents, down from 44 of every 100 (44%) incidents in 2014.

In-Theater Tobacco Impressions by MPAA Rating, 2002–20152

  • The number of tobacco impressions delivered to domestic theater audiences reached 30.1 billion in 2005 and then decreased by half over the next 5 years.
  • From 2010 to 2014, tobacco impressions delivered by PG-13 movies nearly doubled before decreasing 75% from 2014 to 2015.
  • Youth-rated movies delivered 31% of all tobacco impressions in 2015, the lowest proportion of all in-theater tobacco impressions since at least 2002.
  • Lower levels of youth-rated impressions in 2015 are partially explained by fewer tobacco incidents and also by abnormally small audiences for ten youth-rated films with tobacco.
  • Movies of all ratings delivered 9.1 billion tobacco impressions to moviegoers in 2015, down 52% from 19.1 billion in 2014 and the fewest since at least 2002.