Teens want smoking to butt out of movies
Bree Williams and Tenille Taylor, speaking for the Phoenix Alliance, a Utah antitobacco advocacy group, on Tuesday announce their campaign aimed at the movie industry, specifically the portrayal of smoking in films. The campaign was to kick off at today's screening of "The Return of the King," where they planned to hand out literature and have a postcard writing table in the lobby of the Carmike Hollywood Connection in West Valley City. (Paul Fraughton/The Salt Lake Tribune)
By Carey Hamilton
The Salt Lake Tribune
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Colin Farrell will soon be inundated with postcards from Utah teenagers.
But they aren't sending fan mail. Instead, the teens are asking the two Hollywood stars to stop smoking in movies -- a portrayal they say influences youth to pick up the habit.
"As a teen I know we look to the stars as trendsetters," said Courtney Moffet, a member of the Phoenix Alliance, Utah's antitobacco advocacy group. On Tuesday she helped kick off the group's "Tobacco and Hollywood: Behind the Scenes" campaign.
"One-thousand-seventy kids begin smoking every day because of the influence of tobacco in movies," she said, "and 340 will die early as a result."
The Phoenix Alliance is working with the Utah Department of Health to educate teens about the dangers of smoking. In their latest campaign, the high schoolers hope to pressure movie studios and actors to cut out smoking in all G, PG and PG-13 rated films.
They say tobacco companies are using movies as a vehicle to promote teen smoking and say smoking in the movies is exaggerated.
Aside from Zeta-Jones and Farrell, the group is targeting Disney Studios, which they say makes many movies for children and young adults that depict people smoking.
As part of the campaign, the teens will hand out postcards and coasters and air radio and television advertisements.
The campaign will cost $35,000, most of which will be paid for with money from the 1998 settlement between tobacco companies and states.