August 04, 2020

In the national quest to curtail teen smoking, one relevant factor has been overlooked. Observe how many new movies are produced that include smoking scenes. More often than not, smoking is irrelevant to the movie’s theme, and is glamorized as something desirable and harmless.

I’d be interested to know how much money tobacco companies pay movie producers to “advertise” tobacco products in such a way. The movie industry, being a powerful tool at influencing vulnerable young minds, apparently cares only about increasing its profits, at the expense of our children’s health.

Together, the tobacco and movie industries have convinced many teens to ignore the drawbacks and risks of smoking (inferior health, yellow teeth, smelly clothes, wrinkled skin, addiction, squandered money, premature death, etc.). The trap is skillfully set and many teens take the bait. What they perceive as cool is in reality an unfortunate display of naivete.

Has the DARE program failed? How can DARE officers win a battle against two rich and powerful industries? Are parents at fault? It’s easy to say parents should just turn off the TV, but that control is lost when children visit their friends’ homes. What other tricks do greedy tobacco company CEO’s have up their sleeves? Increasing the promotion of cigars to speed up the addiction process (one cigar equals about 10 cigarettes, in terms of nicotine absorption) and tobacco products in fruity flavors. Carolyn Filauro Millinocket

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