Aiming at Teens, States Ask Hollywood to Include Anti-Smoking Spots on DVDs

Hoping to reduce teen smoking, attorneys general from more than 35 states on Thursday offered movie studios free use of three public-service announcements to be included on DVDs and videos.

The move came nearly a year after 32 attorneys general sent a similar letter urging studios to add PSAs to home-viewing releases that depict smoking.

"I was deeply disappointed by the industry's failure to heed our initial call," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.

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"We urge movie makers to do the right thing and include these powerful and persuasive anti-smoking ads on all DVDs and videos that depict tobacco use," he said.

Studios referred calls to the Motion Picture Association of America.

MPAA spokeswoman Kori Bernards said it was too early to comment on whether studios would accept the offer to use the PSAs.

"We will formally respond to them in a timely manner and look forward to future discussions with them," Bernards said.

She added that the entertainment industry recognizes smoking is a serious health problem, and the MPAA is working with the Harvard School of Public Health on anti-smoking initiatives. Bernards declined to elaborate.

The attorneys general blame films that show smoking for influencing hundreds of thousands of U.S. adolescents to begin lighting up every year.

They cited a 2005 study released by Dartmouth Medical School that found 38 of every 100 youths who tried smoking did so because of their exposure to smoking in movies.

The attorneys general said 73 percent of all youth-rated movies show tobacco use.

"This may not be an offer they can't refuse, but it should be an offer studio executives will be happy to accept," California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said of the PSAs being offered.

The three public-service announcements are entitled "Body Bags," "1200" and "Shards O Glass."

Movie studios have heard from state prosecutors before on the smoking issue. The National Association of Attorneys General adopted a resolution in 1998 asking the entertainment industry to limit tobacco use in films.

Members also met with studio heads and former MPAA President Jack Valenti in 2003 to discuss the impact of on-screen smoking on young movie watchers.

The anti-smoking messages were created by the American Legacy Foundation, which runs national advertisements designed to prevent teens from smoking.

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