Hollywood, CA

February 23, 2007

Harvard School of Public Health has long been active in pressing for control of tobacco and smoking. In 1981, Professor Dimitrios Trichopoulos of the School’s Department of Epidemiology first described the health effects of secondhand smoke, linking it to increased lung cancer risk in people who had never smoked themselves.

In 1999 Associate Dean Jay Winsten, Director of the Center for Health Communication at HSPH, and Susan Moses, Deputy Director, went to Hollywood to advocate for avoidance of smoking in youth-rated movies. In December 2006, the new chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Dan Glickman, sent a letter to Dean Barry R. Bloom asking for HSPH recommendations on smoking in films, and later invited him to make a scientific presentation on the impact of youth smoking and the behavioral influence of movies that depict tobacco use.

Dean Bloom in turn invited Associate Dean Jay Winsten and the distinguished epidemiologist, Dr. Jonathan Samet from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, to join in the presentation to the MPAA. Dr. Samet is one of the world’s leading experts on the health effects of active and passive smoking.

The presentations below lay the foundation for the simple recommendation of Dean Barry R. Bloom of the Harvard School of Public Health that the MPAA take substantive and effective action to eliminate the depiction of tobacco smoking from films accessible to children and youths.

Brief introduction (pdf)
Barry R. Bloom, PhD
Dean, Harvard School of Public Health

The health effects of smoking in the US and globally
Jonathan M. Samet, MD, MS
Chairman, Department of Epidemiology
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The role of films in influencing young people’s behavior (pdf)
Jay A. Winsten, PhD
Associate Dean, Harvard School of Public Health
Director, Center for Health Communication

Addressing the issues of “Directorial Freedom” and “Academic Freedom” (pdf)
Barry R. Bloom, PhD
Dean, Harvard School of Public Health

Attendees:

Directors Guild of America
Motion Picture Association of America
National Association of Theatre Owners
NBC Universal
Paramount Pictures
Screen Actors Guild
Sony Pictures Entertainment
The Walt Disney Company
Three Strange Angels
Twentieth Century Fox
Universal Pictures
Warner Bros.