WASHINGTON (CBS WASHINGTON) — The depiction of smoking and smokers is on the rise in Hollywood’s biggest films.

There were nearly 1,900 portrayals of smoking and other tobacco usage among the 134 highest-grossing films at the box office in 2011, according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco.

According to the new study funded by the American Legacy Foundation, smoking by film characters on this big screen has increased despite the studios pledging to clamp down on such portrayals.

“The consequence of more on-screen smoking portrayals will be “more kids starting to smoke and developing tobacco-induced disease,” UCSF professor of medicine Stanton A. Glantz told the LA Times.

Among the PG-13-rated picture with more than 50 on-screen tobacco portrayals were DreamWorks Studios’ “The Help,” Warner Bros.’ “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” and 20th Century Fox’s “Water for Elephants,” all period pieces. The only PG-rated release in that category was the animated western “Rango,” from Paramount Pictures.

Warner Bros. parent company Time Warner, Universal parent Comcast Corp. and Walt Disney Co. all have established policies to reduce the portrayals of smoking in their films, according to the researchers. However, those three studios had just as many “tobacco incidents per youth-rated movie” as the three studios without such policies, Paramount, Fox and Sony Pictures.

The American Legacy Foundation is a public health group dedicated to reducing tobacco use among the country’s youth.



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