Philip Morris and the tobacco industry in general have long insisted that cigarette advertising has no influence whatsoever in getting people to start smoking, claiming it only influences existing adult smokers to change brands. But this week the National Cancer Institute published an extensive, 684-page monograph that evaluates current evidence regarding the power of the media to both encourage and discourage tobacco use. NCI found that "The total weight of evidence -- from multiple studies, conducted by investigators from different disciplines, and using data from many countries -- demonstrates a causal relationship between tobacco advertising and promotion and increased tobacco use." NCI further concluded that smoking in the movies causes more children to start smoking, saying "the depiction of cigarette smoking in movies is pervasive" and "the total weight of evidence ... indicates a causal relationship between exposure to depictions of smoking in movies and youth initiation."
By Anne Landman on August 21, 2008