Youth campaign targets smoking in movies

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(Host) You’ve watched movie previews and even car ads while waiting for a feature film to start. And soon, a movie theater near you may be showing this trailer:

(Sound from an anti-smoking trailer)
(Acting coach) “I knew early on that I wanted to teach actors – teach actors how to smoke. Cathy stop coughing!”
(Narrator) “Is big tobacco trying to hook teens?”

(Host) Anti-smoking advertisements will be screened this week in movie theaters across Vermont. The “Butts of Hollywood” campaign is sponsored by the Vermont Health Department and a teen group that works on smoking issues.

Organizers say that Hollywood movies show images of smoking that encourage young people to pick up the habit. Karen Garabino is with the Vermont Health Department. She says the campaign will draw attention to the prevalence of cigarette smoking in the movies:

(Gabarino) “We know that when kids think it’s ‘normal’ it’s easier for them to do that. So we really want youth to know that smoking rates are lower than you’d imagine, based on what you’d see on the screen.”

(Host) Organizers point to research that indicates teens who watch images of smoking are more likely to smoke themselves. Researchers in another study found teens who watch anti-tobacco messages before watching films are less likely to try smoking.

Ten of Vermont’s 21 major movie theaters will be show the trailers. The teen organizers also will lobby other movie theaters to join the program.

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