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Tobacco in Pop Culture

Why tobacco in pop culture is an important issue

Even as national smoking rates have declined to record lows, there has been a pervasive re-emergence of smoking imagery in entertainment media and pop culture.

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Despite federal law prohibiting paid tobacco product placements in movies and TV programming in 1998, tobacco imagery can still be seen on screens everywhere today — including movie, TV, streaming media and video game screens — and at venues and events. Tobacco in any form of entertainment contributes to the normalization of smoking, and the expansion of the media landscape means that there are more opportunities for exposure.
These images have influence, especially among youth and young adults, who are uniquely susceptible to social and environmental influences to use tobacco. For example, research shows that higher exposure to tobacco imagery in movies makes youth twice as likely to start smoking.

Glamorizing and re-normalizing smoking could threaten the progress the U.S. has made in decreasing tobacco use. With our deep knowledge of culture and how to influence it, we are confronting this issue with research, public education and community engagement efforts, including cutting-edge work on tobacco imagery in broadcast and streaming television and video games.

We are creating a future where tobacco and nicotine addiction are a thing of the past. This is how we're doing.

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