News in Brief: City De-Glamorizes Smoking in Movies at Local Big Screens

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In an effort to immunize youths against the glamorization of tobacco in movies, the city of Berkeley has awarded nearly $2,000 in prizes for visual art pieces with anti-tobacco messages.

United Artists Theater in Berkeley will exhibit these slides on all seven of its screens during this summer and fall.

The program, which began Aug. 18, hopes to highlight the negative effects of smoking, emphasizing bad breath, wrinkles and lung cancer over the glamor in the movies.

One slide shows tanks shooting cigarettes at a Berkeley High School building, while Joe Camel stands nearby and dollar bills are ignited by cigarettes.

The city's efforts are in response to a finding that smoking in films is increasing. Recently UCSF professor Stan Glantz found that, after reviewing films produced in the 1990's, nearly 80 percent of male stars in films smoke, even though only 25 percent of American adult males smoke.

A Berkeley survey, however, found that only 54 percent of movie viewers remembered seeing smoking in a film they watched. Ninety percent of all smokers start as teenagers.

UC Irvine professor Connie Pechmann found that pre-film anti-smoking messages offset the effects of glamorized tobacco in movies. The city hopes that showing anti-tobacco slides before films will prevent youths from emulating the smoking they see in a movie.

Virginia Griffey


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