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Bollywood ‘youth films’ found full of tobacco use

Half of top-grossing 'youth-rated' films released in 2006-08 showed tobacco usage,says a study.

Half of Bollywood’s top-grossing “youth-rated” films released between 2006 and 2008 showed tobacco usage,according to a study that assessed the impact of such scenes. Of 44 films of various ratings studied,24 had 179 such scenes. These comprised 19 of 38 films rated U or U/A,and five of six rated A.

The 38 youth-rated films delivered 1.91 billion “tobacco impressions”,calculated after factoring in audience size and the number of tobacco-usage scenes. Bollywood delivered 14 billion tobacco impressions,says the study,published last month in Heart Asia by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) group.

Carried out by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Imperial College of London,the study also covered Hollywood films released in the UK. Compared to Bollywood’s 14 billion impressions,Hollywood films in the UK delivered 920 million,it found.

“Despite the government bringing in a set of rules that require disclaimers and health warning messages whenever tobacco is shown on screens,there is a need to rate films showing tobacco use with an A certification,” says Dr Monika Arora,director of health promotion and tobacco control with PHFI.

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WHO recommended in 2011 that new films with tobacco imagery should be labelled adult films. India’s tobacco act,COTPA,only mandates a strong editorial justification and a warning message for tobacco-usage scenes.

The study was funded by Fogarty International Centre,National Institutes of Health,US.

Another study,meanwhile,has had school and college students of Delhi giving a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down” to films based on tobacco-related content. Of 20 films reviewed so far,12 have got a “thumbs down”; these include Son of Sardar and Matru ki Bijli ka Mandola. Those given a “thumbs up” so far include Kai Po Che,Dabangg 2 and Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

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The study is being conducted by the group Hriday in technical collaboration with University of California,and is supported by WHO’s Southeast Asia office.

Friday is World No Tobacco Day.

First published on: 30-05-2013 at 00:23 IST
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