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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 10:37 GMT
Tobacco firm makes Hollywood plea
David Strathairn as Edward R Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck
Cigarettes featured heavily in the film Good Night, and Good Luck
The biggest maker of cigarettes in the US has asked Hollywood studios to avoid using its products in films in case such scenes persuade children to smoke.

Philip Morris USA has placed adverts saying: "Please don't give our cigarette brands a part in your movie."

The tactic followed meetings with industry figures, a spokesman said.

But one critic claimed the company would still benefit from smoking scenes in general as its Marlboro product was the leading brand among US teenagers.

Stanton Glantz, head of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California at San Francisco, dismissed the ad campaign as a PR stunt.

Instead of threatening to sue over the use of their brands in movies, Philip Morris officials were saying, "Aw, shucks, we really wish you wouldn't show our products on screen", he told the AP news agency.

'Unmoved'

And Matt Myers, who is president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said film studios had been unmoved by previous appeals to shield children from smoking scenes.

"Hollywood has ignored the very serious problem that smoking in the movies contributes to youth tobacco use," he said.

The problem went beyond "which brands are shown", he added.

Last year a study published in the American medical journal Pediatrics suggested that children exposed to smoking in the film were more likely than their peers to start using tobacco.

Philip Morris USA has cited that research, along with two other studies, in its campaign.

Motion Picture Association of America, which represents the movie industry, has not commented.


SEE ALSO
S&N warns of smoking ban effects
07 Nov 06 |  Business
Tobacco firms sued over low tar
25 Sep 06 |  Business
Report details smoke ban tactics
27 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Hollywood bad guys 'smoke more'
09 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
Smoking in movies under fire
14 Dec 01 |  Health

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