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In February, the WHO issued its latest Smoke-Free Movies report and urged governments to rate movies that feature tobacco use as adult content.1 Smoking acquisition typically begins at a young age. For this population, studies have shown that smoking imagery in the popular media, specifically, scenes of tobacco use in films are a prevalent and potent risk factor for smoking initiation across countries.2–6
Current tobacco control legislations may not be adequate in protecting adolescents and young adults from being exposed to smoking imagery in films. For example, Taiwan implemented the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (THPA) in 1997, which states that ‘smoking imagery in movies shall not be particularly emphasised’. The act eliminated many forms of advertising but included no enforceable policy for smoking in movies.
Y-MC and BC contributed equally.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.