WASHINGTON - September 22 - Sixty
percent of movies advertised on the in-school TV program Channel One portray
smoking, according to a new report by Commercial
Alert, titled “Smoking Class: How Schools and Channel One Promote Tobacco to
Such cinema portrayals of tobacco are highly effective in
luring young people into the ranks of tobacco users – even more so than
conventional advertising. It is estimated that each year smoking in movies
recruits 390,000 new young smokers in the United States. Since January 1, 2000,
Channel One has advertised at least 67 commercial motion pictures. Forty
of these movies portray smoking.
Channel One is a for-profit company that
distributes a daily commercial television program to more than 30 percent of all
American teenagers in nearly 11,500 middle and high schools across the United
“Schools should never promote tobacco to students,” said Gary
Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, a nonprofit organization that
protects children and communities from commercialism. “Channel One should be
expelled from every school in the country.”
Tobacco is the number one
cause of preventable deaths in the United States, causing 435,000 fatalities
each year. Adolescents who see plenty of smoking on screen are nearly three
times more likely to start smoking than those who see the least. Yet
school administrators and politicians have invited into schools a commercial
medium that promotes tobacco use, and then have arranged for captive audiences
of young people to watch it.
Channel One’s airing of commercial
messages promoting smoking contravenes the spirit and intention of many state
laws that require schools to teach students a curriculum about the potential
harms and legal ramifications of smoking.
Copies of the Smoking Class
report are available at http://www.commercialalert.org/smokingclass.pdf.
Alert is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep the commercial
culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and
subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and