SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 8, 2012 /NEWS.GNOM.ES/ — Revealed on the same day as the U.S. Surgeon General’s report “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults,” Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails’ Hackademy Awards March 8 highlighted movies including animation as among the worst offenders in depicting tobacco use that could influence young people to try smoking.
The annual Hackademy Awards are part of the Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! Project (TUTD), which was cited in the U.S. Surgeon General’s report in a section that addressed how movies can play a role in promoting tobacco use among young people.
Using TUTD research, The U.S. Surgeon General report stated that while depictions of tobacco use has been declining in top-grossing movies, there remains a substantial amount of smoking in youth-rated (G, PG, PG-13) movies. This year’s Hackademy Awards echoed this troubling fact.
Volunteer youth reviewers with TUTD voted the animated PG movie Rango 2011′s worst in terms of smoking, earning it a Thumbs Down! Award. In fact, nearly all depictions of tobacco use in PG movies — 97 percent — were delivered by three of five 2011 releases that utilized animation and extensive digital effects, and were aimed at young movie goers. Oscar favorite “Hugo and The Adventures of Tintin were the two other movies in this category that delivered pro-tobacco messages.
Reviewers also created a special 2011 runner-up category, calling out PG-13-rated Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. From the perspective of many reviewers, the movie had already re-invented so much of the iconic English detective’s persona, it could have just as easily left out the pipe.
On the brighter side, the Thumbs Up! Movie Award recognized Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides for ignoring stereotypical tobacco use found in many other pirate-themed movies.
The Thumbs Up! Awards for best actor and actress also gave reviewers another reason to celebrate. All three of Ryan Gosling‘s roles in Drive, Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Ides of March did not include a wisp of tobacco. The Thumbs Up! Actress Award went to Amara Miller for her performance in The Descendants. She portrayed a child who complained about being subjected to second-hand smoke. By doing so, she marked a rare cameo appearance in 2011 movies for anti-tobacco messages.
For the Thumbs Down! Actor Award, reviewers chose Brad Pitt for his role in Moneyball. That film missed few, if any, opportunities to play up chewing tobacco’s popularity among baseball players, even throwing in a scene with Pitt’s character uses chewing tobacco around a child.
The Help used its historical time period as a reason to pack in as much smoking as seemingly possible into its 146 minutes. It was her character’s smoking habit in this movie that led to Emma Stone‘s downfall with reviewers unanimously agreed to give her the Thumbs Down! Actress Award.
A study by Dartmouth College found that 44 percent of young adults who try smoking in the United States do so because of exposure to tobacco use in movies. Thursday’s U.S. Surgeon General report also pointed out the link between youth smoking and movies that depict tobacco use.
“The evidence is sufficient to conclude that there is a causal relationship between depictions of smoking in the movies and the initiation of smoking among young people,” the report stated.
For more information about the Hackademy Awards, visit www.scenesmoking.org. Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails promotes cleaner air, healthier lungs and a tobacco-free tomorrow. Originally founded in 1917, the organization that is today Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails is an independent non-profit. For more information, call (916) 444-5900, or visit www.sacbreathe.org.