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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Garnering Support for Policy Change by Coordinating Statewide Media with Local Action

Lisa K. Kelly, B.A. and Alison Rhodes-Devey, BSW. Tobacco Control Program, New York State Department of Health, Corning Tower Empire State Plaza, Room 710, Albany, NY 12237

Objective: The New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program conducts the Smokefree Movie Initiative. There is scientific consensus that Smoking in movies promotes the behavior to youth and young adults and has influenced more than a third of U.S. teen smokers to start smoking. The goal of the initiative is to eliminate smoking from movies rated G, PG and PG-13.

Methods: The Program coordinated media with community activities to build active support for the four Smokefree Movie policy solutions. The multi-year efforts began in 2003 and 2004 by implementing counter-marketing and grass-roots strategies to educate the public about the relationship between the film and tobacco industries, and the correlation between the exposure to smoking in movies and the prevalence of youth smoking; in 2005, the strategies focused on motivating key community leaders and parents to actively support the smokefree movies initiative policy solutions; and in 2006, the strategies focused on mobilizing parents to demand that the film industry eliminate smoking from all youth-rated movies.

Results: Through the coordination of statewide and community media with community activities, the support for the New York State Tobacco Control Program's Smokefree Movies Initiative has grown. Seventy percent of New York adults are in support of not allowing smoking in movies rated G, PG and PG-13, and nearly two-thirds believe that smoking in the movies encourages youth smoking. The program has also secured the endorsements for the Smokefree Movie policy solutions from numerous key municipality and parent groups.