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Study on: Tobacco in Movies and Impact on Youth (Indian Study - 2006) - Document


Burning Brain Society Supported by WHO & Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, India


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth ABSTRACT Objective: India ratified the FCTC in February 2004
and also enacted legislation called Cigarette and other tobacco products Act 2003 which specifically called for
an end to direct and indirect form of tobacco advertisements. Since the enactment of the legislation, the
tobacco companies are prohibited from any kind of advertisement. Are the tobacco companies resorting to
covert form of advertisement which included product placement in Indian movies? Are myths about tobacco use
being promoted through movies? This study attempts to study the actual incidents of tobacco use in the Indian
movies after 2003 and also to have a snapshot view of the influence it creates on young peoples mind so as to
understand the actual impact of smoking/tobacco images on youngsters. Methods: A qualitative analysis of
hundred and ten movies released in 2004 and 2005 was done. All the movies were watched by trained
volunteers to identify the instances of brand visibility in Indian movies. The association of tobacco with
glamour, style and emotions like stress was also analyzed. The specific instances where statements facilitating
tobacco consumption and situations where the warning about consumption of cigarette was mocked also
recorded and noted down. Response from 1126 youngsters was collected through a survey questionnaire to
understand the impact of movies on the minds of these people and their opinion. Trained volunteers from the
same age-group were used for the exercise. Results: It was found that the instances of showing
smoking/tobacco use in movies have increased significantly to 89% of all movies released in 2004 and 2005.
The brand placement has been also increased nearly three folds. Tobacco brands now appear in 46% of movies
having tobacco scenes. Cigarette companies have almost all the tobacco product placements with two
companies accounting for over 90% of the brand visibility. Association of tobacco with glamour and style has
also been established. 75% of movies having tobacco also showed the main/lead character consuming tobacco.
The instances of females consuming tobacco in movies has also increased in India pointing towards a specific
market expansion strategy by tobacco companies using movies as a vehicle. It was found that the general
public does not feel that banning tobacco scenes in the movie will affect their decision to watch movies or the
quality of movies. A large section of people admitted being influenced by movies which could be found in their
behaviour like a desire to hold a cigarette or articles akin a cigarette. It was found that favourable images
through mass media created a considerable influence on youngsters and increased their receptivity to tobacco
use. 2


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth INTRODUCTION Tobacco is one of the major causes of deaths and
disease in India, accounting for over eight lakh deaths every year.1 Tobacco is the second major cause of death
in the world. It is currently responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide (about 5 million deaths
each year). If current smoking patterns continue, it will cause some 10 million deaths each year by 2020. Half
the people who smoke today, that is, about 650 million people- will eventually be killed by tobacco. Tobacco is
the fourth most common risk factor for disease worldwide. The economic costs of tobacco use are equally
devastating. In addition to the high public health costs of treating tobacco-caused diseases, tobacco kills people
at the height of their productivity, depriving families of breadwinners and nations of a healthy workforce.2 A
question arises that if tobacco is so deadly, why people consume tobacco? Is it natural for people to consume
tobacco or is someone pushing the deadly tobacco? Over a period of time and after a lot of research, it has
been found that tobacco advertisements, sponsorships and promotions are major influences for a person to
initiate tobacco consumption. 168 countries (ratified by 113 till date) of the world3 who signed the Frame Work
Convention on Tobacco Control, an international treaty of global dimension, expressed their concern about the
advertising, promotion and sponsorship in no unclear term in the preamble itself; it read Parties to this
convention (are) seriously concerned about the impact of all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship
aimed at encouraging the use of tobacco products.4 From the same concern the Indian government banned all
forms of direct and indirect forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship through a legislation called
Cigarette and other tobacco products Act 2003. Despite that many surrogate forms of advertisement
continues till date. The FCTC also warns about such nefarious designs in its preamble itself and recognizes the
need to be alert to any efforts by the tobacco industry to undermine or subvert tobacco control efforts and
the activities of the tobacco industry that have a negative impact on tobacco control efforts.5 It was found by

Burning Brain Society and many other organizations that tobacco companies are endorsing film stars and
producers to place their tobacco products in movies which amount to advertising, promotion and sponsorship6.
This brought a realization that if Motion pictures which are one of the most important mass media tool
continue to be used by tobacco companies to promote tobacco and be allowed to spread the myths about
tobacco or present tobacco as a lifestyle and fashion statement, all other efforts to contain tobacco may also
fail. A need to assess the actual ground level reality was felt so that the impact created on youngsters resulting
from tobacco in movies is understood in a better way. Assessing movies also present the actual scenario about
whether tobacco is being associated with emotions like stress, bravery, machismo, fashion, lifestyle, etc; and
whether there is any product placement after the enactment of the anti-tobacco legislation. 3

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth There can be no doubt that movies, television and mass media
have shrunk the world akin a global village. The pervasiveness of the moving images is so high that it now
reaches even the remotest of the village. The DTH Satellite has further increased the reach of cable television
to the remotest corner. Television and movies have become one of the most relied and popular medium of
entertainment and education. In both, rural and urban India the moving images are seen through movie
theatres, cable, satellite, video disks, etc. Moving images have become the window to the world. For the near
450 million illiterate population of India, who can hardly recognise words, moving electronic images are the only
source of learning and entertainment. Under such a scenario the impact created by the movies and other
multimedia program on public mind is massive and indelible in many respects. Many fashions, wearable, style
shown in a movie becomes popular overnight in both villages and cities alike now7. Youngsters can be seen
wearing the haircut of popular actors, wearing clothes like them, carrying bags and badges in emulation of
popular character of a hit movie within a matter of days of its release. The superstars are worshiped like
demigods and there are many cases where even temples have come into existence in their name8. This is the
power of moving images in India like most other places in the world. The movies have an undeniable power to
leave an indelible impression on the minds of the people which increase manifolds when the raw illiterate or
semiliterate populace (especially youngsters) are the recipient of the message delivered through moving
images. The national broadcaster of India, the Doordarshan, even tries to use this power of the electronic mass
media communication in a positive way to spread information for public good. Products, brands, trade names
etc. of many commercial products including those of tobacco are regularly shown and broadcasted over the
mass media in many covert and overt forms. The brand/product placement in the movies is mostly paid for and
inserted with the objective to increase the products sale. Movies often show various tobacco brands, trade
names and products besides smoking scenes and tobacco use in movies. Like all electronic images it is pointed
out by many scientific studies that the images depicting smoking and tobacco use promotes the harmful and
deleterious habit of smoking among youngsters, who happen to be the most vulnerable segment of the
society9. The role of movies in promoting tobacco has been clearly established in many studies10. Based on
the same premise; this study tries to get a snapshot view of the relation and influence of tobacco on peoples
mind especially youngsters. This study is imperative in the view that it is being done after the ratification by
India of the Frame Work Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the increased commitment of India to
contain the growth of tobacco, and prohibit all direct and indirect advertisement as well as promotion of
tobacco in any form. 4


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth This study also finds out instances of showing smoking/tobacco in
movies after the enactment of The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and
Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 which banned all forms of
direct and indirect advertisements of tobacco products. It is noteworthy that in 1998, tobacco companies
entered into the Master Settlement Agreement11 with the Attorneys General of 46 states and agreed not to
do product/brand placement in movies. The Hollywood producers also expressed their unanimity on the issue.
In 2003 many actors, producers and directors talked about self-regulation and said to desist from glamorising
any smoking scenes in movies. Many directors and producers had pledged support 9,12, 32. This study will find
out the effect of the claimed self-regulation and the commitment of the film industry towards tobacco-free
movies by actually finding if any (and the number of, if applicable)32. KEY RESEARCH FINDINGS & RESULTS
analyzed contained tobacco scenes. This is significantly higher than the previously reported 76% for movies
release from 1990 to 2003. LEAD CHARACTER SMOKING: The claim of the motion picture producers that
tobacco is mostly shown to depict negative characters have been found to be baseless. Around 75.5% of the
movies containing tobacco, depicts either the male or the female lead consuming tobacco. ONLY THE LEAD
CHARACTERS SMOKES: In 21.4% of the tobacco containing movies, it is exclusively only the leading characters

who smoke and no other character is shown consuming tobacco. Most of the time tobacco has been associated
with glamour and style. NEUTRAL AND NEGATIVE CHARACTERS SHOWN SMOKING: The figures for smoking by
negative and neutral characters, both combined comes to 70.4 percent. PROMOTING GLAMOUR & STYLE: Of all
movies showing tobacco 80.6% of movies created a direct association of smoking with glamour and association.
This accounts for 71.8% of all movies. PROMOTING ASSOCIATION WITH STRESS: After glamour, the next
commonly shown association is with stress and tension and 62.2% of movies showing tobacco promoted this
association. In total 55.5% of all movies promote this myth. FEMALE CHARACTERS SHOWN SMOKING: There has
also been an increased tendency to show female characters smoking and this was 5

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth 28.6% of all tobacco containing movies and 25.5% of all movies.
This is much higher than the actual prevalence of smoking among women in India which has been reported at
2.5% among all sections of the society.13 TOBACCO WARNINGS MOCKED AT: In many movies the tobacco
warning statements are either specifically or by actions trifled and mocked at. This figure was 30.6% for all
tobacco showing movies. SPECIFIC SCENES/DIALOGUES PROMOTING TOBACCO: Not only is tobacco warnings
mocked at, 33.7% movies also have visible actions and dialogues which encourage the use of tobacco.
TOBACCO BRANDS VISIBLE OR REFERRED: The disclaim by motion picture association and producers about a
positive relationship with tobacco companies also appears to be totally false as an alarming and record number
of 45.9% of all tobacco containing movies had product shots resulting in increased visibility of some specific
tobacco brands. NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF TOBACCO SHOWN: Nil. In not even a single movie tobacco has
been shown to have caused any negative consequences, not even cough. The gravest consequence was a
verbal statement by a character that smoking is not good and often it was followed by another sequence
belittling it or an actual smoking scene. Quite often the leading character is shown with a cigarette in his mouth
immediately before or after a heroic action. HIGHEST BRAND VISIBILITY: Most of the brand visibility is for Indian
and international cigarette companies operating in India. The cigars in its generic form are also making entry
into Indian cinema. (Generic products like Cigar, cigarette, etc. with no brand visible have not been recorded as
product/brand placement.) The increased use of tobacco in movies coupled by the soaring level of tobacco
brand visibility in the recent movies support the fact that after the ban in India on tobacco advertisements,
tobacco companies are using motion pictures as a vehicle of clandestine promotion and advertisement of
tobacco products in both generic and branded forms. PART II - INFLUENCE ON YOUNGSTERS - KEY FINDINGS
GENERAL PUBLIC PERCEPTION: No loss of any artistic or any other quality of motion picture is anticipated by the
general public. The people also in no way feel that if tobacco depiction is restricted from motion pictures, it
would affect their decision to watch movies. 96% of the people feel that banning tobacco will not affect the
quality of the movies or their decision to watch them. TOBACCO DEPICTING PROMOTING TOBACCO AMONG
YOUTH: A high percentage of people (57% to 63%) believe that showing tobacco can instigate some youngsters
to consume tobacco. Another 25% 6


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth to 59% of the people had varying degree of favourable influence
created on them after watching their favourite actors smoke on screen. 59% of the respondents admitted using
other articles like pen or pencil akin a cigarette in their hand in emulation of some movie actor. TOBACCO
BRAND RECALL AMONG YOUTH: There was a high degree of brand recall for the tobacco brands shown in
motion pictures. Around 33.7% of all respondents were able to recall movies with tobacco brand. This increased
to 67% among those having some degree of tobacco influence. These youngsters could recall either the movie
or the brand or both in at least one movie, proving that tobacco brand placement in movies and its association
with film stars have a high impact and recall value. DIRECT IMPACT OF SMOKING ACTORS: Among the tobacco
user respondents, a high 45 percent admitted lighting a cigarette in the style of a film star and 63% admitted
holding a cigarette in film-star style. This shows that a high percentage of smokers/tobacco consumers are
influenced in some way by the motion pictures. The indications are absolutely clear. Exposure to smoking in
movies promotes tobacco as a normal behaviour and associates it with style and glamour. It creates sufficient
influence on many youngsters so as to arise a desire in them to smoke. Some youngsters who have still not
experimented with tobacco still admitted imitating smoking behaviour of the movie characters, thinking it to be
fashionable and imitable. REVIEW AND BACKGROUND DISCUSSION The influence movies create on youngsters
is now quite well researched and documented. The impact movies create on promoting tobacco is also now well
understood. It is known that social learning through mass media is a major factor which contributes to adoption
of smoking by young people.23 The use of tobacco in television dramas and in movies reinforces misleading
ideas that smoking is socially acceptable and desirable.14 Adolescent exposed to high pervasiveness of
smoking in movies associate it with a perceptions that smoking is a normative social and stress reaction
behaviour15 and depiction of smoking in movies and television appears to operate through promoting more

favourable attitudes toward smoking even among never-smokers.16 Movies influence fashion, lifestyles, and
represent smoking as an acceptable behaviour. Using this knowledge the greatest tobacco companies have
built relationships with Hollywood's actors and producers, in order to show smoking and cigarette brands in
films. This results in making the teenagers watching these "smoking films" as the most exposed to start
smoking.17 In popular contemporary movies, smoking is frequently associated with characteristics many
adolescents find appealing; such as toughness, sexiness, and rebelliousness.18 7

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth A study by Dozier showed that in 92% of incidences,
smoking had no consequences. The most frequent consequence was a verbal reprimand. Although tobacco is a
leading cause of preventable deaths globally, only 0.4% of tobacco incidences depicted in the movies resulted
in death. No deaths were caused by disease. Characters who smoked tended to be major characters playing
leadership roles. They tended to be from privileged elites. The study concluded that films portray characters
that smoke as leaders from privileged elites, making smoking more attractive to audience members. Because
99.6% of characters suffer no life threatening consequences from smoking on screen, smokers seem invincible,
contradicting tobaccos role as a leading cause of preventable deaths. 19 A question may arise, If smoking in
movies was a true reflection of the society? The answer to this question is a clear No. Research has
documented that smoking was three times more prevalent in movies than in the general population from 1960
to 1990.20 This has made smoking in movies as the most powerful pro-tobacco influence on kids today,
accounting for 52% of adolescents who start smoking, an effect even stronger than cigarette advertising.21
Feature films can be used in marketing tobacco to adolescents as they are an acceptable format of
communication and young people like going to the movies.28 It has been established that Children who are
more receptive to such exposure are also more susceptible to start smoking.22 It has been found that
adolescents who choose movie stars who use tobacco on- screen are significantly more likely to have an
advanced smoking status and more favourable attitudes toward smoking than adolescents who choose nonsmoking stars. The portrayal of tobacco use in contemporary motion pictures, particularly by the stars admired
by adolescents, contributes to adolescent smoking.23 Results of two more cross- sectional studies indicated
that adolescents were more likely to have tried smoking if their favourite movie stars smoked on screen. 24,25
The young people exposed to movies showing actors smoking often identify tobacco with the stress-relieving
and social aspects of smoking, despite being well aware of the harmful health effects. Its acceptability as part
of a cool image is also well established. Positive images of smoking in the media have the potential to downplay the serious health consequences of smoking by portraying it in a way that young people interpret as a
normal part of everyday life. Such movies and stars also encourage a more neutral or tolerant attitude towards
smoking among young people and therefore act to counteract other health promotion efforts to reduce teenage
smoking.26 Studies show that experience as a smoker appears to further inflate the credibility of realistic
smoking images, particularly those presented in gritty realism/drama film. Pervasive and credible smoking
scenes in film also offer support and reassurance to older teens already smoking or having ambivalent views
about smoking.27 A cross sectional study published in the British Medical Journal way back in December 2001
also showed that smoking scenes in the Hollywood films had a very strong influence on young minds. Prof.
James Sargents study " Effect of seeing tobacco use in films on trying smoking among adolescents showed
that 8


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth the likelihood of an adolescent trying smoking was directly linked
to the number of exposures he/she had of smoking scenes in the films.28 Sargent and his team also studied
adolescents aged 10 to 14 and found that youth had a higher risk of smoking initiation as their exposure to
movie smoking increased, with those youth most exposed to movie smoking being most at risk. Adolescents
with the greatest exposure to movie smoking were 2.6 times more likely to try smoking than their peers in the
least exposed group, after controlling for other factors. The increased risk of smoking initiation associated with
exposure to smoking in the movies was similar to that of other well-known risk factors, such as having a parent
or sibling who smokes. This increased risk was seen across youth of all racial and ethnic groups, in all
geographic regions of the country.29 It was also found that even after controlling for the effects of other social
influences, parenting, and personality characteristics of the child; exposure to smoking in movies was
associated with smoking experimentation.30 In another previous study, Dr. Sargent established that among
adolescents there was a strong, direct, and independent association between seeing tobacco use in films and
trying cigarettes, a finding that further supports the previous findings that smoking in films has a role in the
initiation of smoking in adolescents.30 In 2002, 2004, and again in 2005 the US Centres for Disease Control and
Prevention also named tobacco in the movies a major factor in teen smoking. The research explains that nonsmoking teens whose favourite stars frequently smoke on screen are sixteen times more likely to have positive

attitudes about smoking in the future. Equally important, exposure to smoking in the movies quadrupled the
chance that non-smokers kids would start.31 Movies are an obsession with Indians. India produces more than
900 films a year in different languages watched by over 188 million viewers every year. Satellite television has
increased the reach out to a much larger audience. There are more than 10 movie channels that telecast
movies round the clock. Two of the prominent movie channels reach 35-40% of the 40 million Cable and
Satellite (C&S) households in India each week. The four major general entertainment channels show 5-10
movies a week and reach 60-70% of the cable and satellite audience every week. Films and film based
programming account for 25% to 30% of programming content and are the key viewership drivers for all
general entertainment channels. Newly released films are aired on TV within six months of their debut in
theatres, talking them to the remotest corners of the country. The reach of cinema is further increased by the
pirated copies of films and it is estimated that 230,000 people each day watch a movie illegally in India.32
These facts are tempting for any commercial organisation for the promotion of its products through moving
images. Since tobacco and alcoholic beverages companies are cash rich and have fewer options of advertising
directly so they are more prone to spend higher amount of money through this mode. The added revenue also
makes good proposition for the film producers too resulting in a large number of product placements in motion
pictures. Over a period of time cigarette companies have developed sophisticated campaigns targeting men, 9

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth women, and children in different socioeconomic groups. Many of
these strategies circumvent the Indian tobacco advertising ban.33 Targeting Children: Researchers at
Dartmouth Medical School found that 38 percent of adolescents who tried cigarettes did so because they saw
smoking in movies, according to a study of 6,522 U.S. kids ages 10 to 14. 34 At least one character in more
than two-thirds of animated feature films produced for children over the past 60 years in the United States used
tobacco or alcohol with no indication that the practices were unhealthy. Dr. Adam O. Goldstein reported that of
the 50 animation movies reviewed 68 percent (or 34 movies), displayed at least one episode of tobacco or
alcohol use. Seventy-six characters smoked for a total duration in all films of more than 45 minutes and 63
characters drank alcohol for 27 minutes. He found that good characters consumed the substances as frequently
as bad characters did. The feature-length animated films showed cigar and wine consumption most often, but
cigarettes, pipes, beer, spirits and champagne were also depicted.35 It may be mentioned that India hardly
produces any animation movies. Most of the animation movies originate from the US and other foreign
countries and are dubbed in Hindi or other regional language. The depiction of tobacco and alcohol affect the
youngsters and influence their decision to smoke or drink in their future life, the above mention study clearly
reported. As cited earlier a relationship of increased risk of smoking initiation with the greatest exposure to
movies showing smoking has been clearly established across all racial and ethnic groups.29 Another study to
evaluate the use of tobacco in Japanese cartoon and comic character concluded that young adults, adolescents,
and children are frequently exposed to smoking scenes in Japanese cartoons and animations too. The
youngsters are likely to identify themselves with characters of the same sex and age; teens with teen smokers
in boys comics; young male adults with smokers of main characters in the 20s or 30s in youths comics; young
women with female smokers in womens comics. This is likely to increase the chances of smoking initiation and
an increasing trend of smoking among teens and young women. Comics are a medium with influence over
children and adolescents in many Asian countries. Most comics are imported from Japan where comic
magazines sell several million copies every week. Popular titles become TV animation series or theatrical
animated films.36 Japanese comics and animation movies are popular and circulations are increasing in many
countries including India, this raises serious questions. Targeting Females a new segment in India: Studies
suggest that the tobacco companies specifically position their products to attract female smokers from all
segments, strata and age groups of society. The tobacco companies communications targeting females is
carefully designed for younger women stressing on female camaraderie, self confidence, freedom, and
independence; cigarette brands for older women are tailored to address the needs for pleasure, relaxation,
social acceptability, and escape from daily stresses.37 10


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Smoking is highly prevalent in Hollywood films featuring popular
actresses and may influence young audiences for whom movie stars serve as role models38 and there is
enough evidence that smoking by movie stars can play an important role in even encouraging female
adolescents to start smoking.39 Direct brand placement and tobacco product promotion: Values and lifestyles
play a central role in the global marketing of tobacco to young adults and tobacco companies are known to
create associations between young adult values and tobacco brands.40 It is now well known that owning
tobacco promotional items and being able to recall cigarette advertisements can double the odds that an
adolescent will become an established smoker. Movie images associate smoking with celebrities and depict it as

an attractive behaviour.41 Evidence exists that adolescent smoking is partially attributable to aggressive
tobacco marketing strategies aimed at youths via popular culture. One such strategy is to ensure that stars
smoke in popular movies. Placing products or brand identifiers in movies is recognized as a standard marketing
option to advertise and promote product use. 39 above Advertising is generally aimed at creating a
"personality" for a product by associating it with favourable social images. A brands personality is built with
attractive imagery in magazines, newspapers, and at racing events; which is one way to get brands onto the
television screen. It affects youth smoking by associating cigarette brands with images of strength and
independence (Marlboro), having a good time (Newport), and sexual potency (Kool) among other characteristics
that appeal to adolescents. The ads dont have to depict smoking; for example, ads for Newport (the second
most popular brand among adolescents in USA) show young people having a good time together without
showing anyone smoking. Youth smoke highly advertised premium brands; the top three brands among
adolescents are Marlboro, Newport, and Camel cigarettes (In USA). In addition, adolescents are avid readers of
magazines and also spend time searching the Internet. This adds to the impact. Clearly, mass media plays a
prominent role in the life of the contemporary adolescent. Adolescents gain information about their world and
about smoking by watching celebrity behaviour in the media. A person watching a movie rarely gets the
impression as if the smokers are compelled to smoke because of their own addiction. The smokers as shown in
the movies are, for the most part, affluent and powerful and, because of their star status, larger than life, in
contrast to real-life smokers who are more likely to be poor. Actors smoke in the context of romance, or to
appear tough and personify the bad guy or girl, and also to relieve stressall situations adolescents might
aspire to. Actors are increasingly endorsing brands when they smoke on screen, even though paid brand
placement was eliminated in USA.42 Actors who also smoke off-screen are even more tempting branding
options for tobacco companies because it is known that quite often on-camera smoking is influenced by actors'
off-camera tobacco use43 and by endorsing such an actor the impact can be doubled. Despite the settlement
with the tobacco companies in USA prohibiting brand appearance in movies, the situation did not change
overall. Instead of the tobacco 11

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth industry contained, there was a striking increase in the type of
brand appearance depicted, with actor endorsement increasing from 1% of films before the ban to 11% after.
Four US cigarette brands accounted for 80% of brand appearances. Revenues outside the USA accounted for
49% of total revenues for these films, indicating a large international audience. This showed that tobacco-brand
appearances are common in films and are becoming increasingly endorsed by actors. The most highly
advertised US cigarette brands account for most brand appearances, which suggests an advertising motive to
this practice.44 The advertising literature notes that movie product placements are effective if the viewer
interprets the brand image according to who the character is and how the brand is used by the character.45
Brand appearances in movies are part of a larger advertising trend that aims to place brands in movies and
television shows in response to the weakening effectiveness of paid commercial advertising or ban on direct
advertising. Brand placements are a particularly effective form of advertising because the public does not view
them with the same scepticism as other advertising. Because movies are marketed globally, cigarettes placed
in movies are viewed by an international audience.46 The tobacco industry understood the value of placing and
encouraging tobacco use in films, and the ways to do it. While the industry claims to have ended this practice,
smoking in motion pictures increased throughout the 1990s and remains a public health problem even today.47
Some people thought that the brand visibility and tobacco product placement or star endorsement might be
just an accident. Someone who is ignorant of the issue may be tempted to say but if the revelation comes from
the horses mouth, then little is left to speculation. Amir Khan an immensely successful Bollywood star says
that, I have been approached many times by tobacco companies with very attractive offers, so far I have
refused all such offers. If smoking is harmful to me, how can I recommend it to my fans?48 Another successful
actor Jackie Shroff, who was a model for a tobacco company till sometime back claimed that even after his
contract with the tobacco company finished he was still being approached by cigarette companies despite the
fact that he being no more interested to endorse any tobacco product. Subhash Ghai, a successful film producer
and director also claims that he has been approached umpteen times by the agents of tobacco companies for
product placement but he refused.49 Vivek Oberoi, the young star and the new style icon of India also tells a
similar story, in his words; Three days after the release of my first film, Company, I was called up by several
tobacco and alcohol brand (owners) for endorsement, offering me crores of rupees. I was three days old in the
industry, but in five minutes I said no to all of them.50 During an interview of a Japanese director, he without
any hesitation claimed to have visited a tobacco factory in Cuba to discuss a script of the movie51 he directed
and also about casting a girl designated as Miss Tobacco. And so is the story with many successful actors,

producers and directors. While those who refuse, tell the story publicly, but the story of hundreds others who
succumb to the temptation is never known. Those who give in to financial 12

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth consideration by tobacco and liquor companies adjust brand
visibility in their movies and thats how we see movies containing tobacco brands/products so commonly these
days. With most of the successful movies being dubbed into other languages, the tobacco companies,
especially the trans-national ones, have discovered the gains of product placements. The fact that movies also
have an unlimited life and the advertising cost is not recurring clearly adds to the attractiveness of movies as
vehicle of promoting tobacco.52 THE STUDY Objective: India ratified the FCTC in 200453 and also enacted
legislation called Cigarette and other tobacco products Act 2003 which specifically called for an end to direct
and indirect form of tobacco advertisements54. Since the enactment of the legislation, the tobacco companies
are prohibited from any kind of advertisement. We intend to find if they resorting to covert form of
advertisement which included product placement in Indian movies. Such product placements and visibility of
tobacco in movies creates a very high impact on the youngsters and children. Are myths about tobacco use
being promoted through movies? This study also attempts to study the actual incidents of tobacco use in the
Indian movies after 2003 and to have a snapshot view of the influence it creates on young peoples mind so as
to understand the influence and actual impact of showing smoking images in movies on youngsters. There are
two parts of the present study. In the first part we intended to study the usage of tobacco in Hindi movies
released during the year 2004 and 2005. The second part of the study was questionnaire designed with an
intention to understand the mindset and the popular perception. We interacted with over one thousand and one
hundred youngsters and sought their reaction, opinion and recall on various aspects of tobacco usage in
movies. RESEARCH DESIGN PART I ANALYZING MOVIES List of Movies This research goes beyond evaluating
only the popular and successful movies on the basis of the revenue collection or their success and failure by
other parameters as the box office collection can not be a qualifying yardstick. Each movie is produced with an
expectation of its being successful. So even if a movie is not a success by some yardstick still it will not lessen
its role as an intended mass media 13


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth vehicle. So it was decided to evaluate at least 100 of the
available movies released during 2004, 2005. The availability of the movies in the video parlours and video
libraries was set as a criterion to select the movies at random. Factors analyzed Each movie was evaluated on
the basis of the impact created. Counting the number of smoking /tobacco scenes was found to be unnecessary
as in many cases even a single scene can be of immense significance if it is filmed on a popular star depicting a
positive and desirable emotion. The emotional impact of tobacco depiction is of much greater value than
counting the smoking scenes. In many cases the number of scenes may be less but then there may be
dialogues supporting tobacco. Movies were analyzed on the basis of the association created with emotions, use
of positive statements and tobacco facilitating remarks in movies. The use of tobacco by lead character vis-vis others was also done. The movies were also evaluated on the basis of tobacco usage; smoking/tobacco use
by the main protagonists and female characters; association of tobacco with glamour and stress; statements
facilitating tobacco usage and belittling of tobacco warning. The usage of alcohol was also recorded. No of
movies evaluated A total of hundred and ten Hindi movies were evaluated at random. Forty-eight of these were
released in the year 2004 and sixty-two in the year 2005. PART II FINDING A RELATION WITH INFLUENCE ON
YOUNGSTERS The Model It is known that psychological needs satisfaction can be communicated without direct
reference to cigarettes or smoking and is so subtle that it is difficult for audience to analyze it easily.55 To
unearth the complex emotional desire triggered by such messages in the movies a self administered questioner
having multiple options was developed. The first four questions were about the respondents profile and were
optional. The last ten questions were valid only for respondents already consuming tobacco. Two questions
required one word or a single line answer, depending on recall and could be left un-responded. The complete
questionnaire was also put on the website of Burning Brain Society ( and response
sought. In the first week, fifty four people replied and their responses were used to validate and fine-tune the
questionnaire. After evaluation of the response through the website, questions were re-serialised and some
questions were rephrased. Some questions which were earlier in the questionnaire were dropped altogether
from the rephrased questionnaire for not being of any importance. 14


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth The Questions and their rationale The subjects on which opinion
was sought included questions asking; 1) If the respondent could recall any tobacco brand seen in the movie?
This was to see the impact or brand recall factor of any tobacco products which was visible in the movie. The
respondents were also asked to name the movie/brand in the next question. 2) If the respondent ever felt a

desire to smoke or just hold a cigarette in his hand? The next question asked if he/she had ever held any article
like cigarette so as to emulate any film actor smoking. The answers to these questions provide the real cue of
the influence movies cause on young minds and also of acceptability of tobacco in their lives. Those answering
Yes to any of these three questions could be put in the high risk group. 3) If the respondent felt that people
follow movie stars in smoking? The answer to this question provides an indication about the impact of showing
tobacco on his/or her mind projected through another person. 4) If the respondents felt that by not showing
tobacco in the movie the quality of the movie be affected in any way or it would affect his decision to watch the
movie? The answer provides cue to the importance and seriousness a regular movie viewers attach to the
expression of emotions, situations, etc. because of tobacco usage and how important they think it is to show
tobacco in movies. The answer to this question is an indicator to the importance general public gives to tobacco
in movies. 5) There were questions to know whether they had ever consumed tobacco or any of the family
members consume tobacco? Those who answered in affirmation about their using tobacco, they were asked to
answer another ten questions asking about the quantity of tobacco they smoked and if they had ever lighted a
cigarette in the style of any film actor. They were also asked about if they thought that movies influenced their
smoking initiation. The answers to these questions give a reasonable idea about the influence and impression
created on a lay persons mind. The evaluated responses provide an indicator about the role of mass media
images in influencing youngsters to have a favourable image of tobacco which pushes them towards the actual
consumption of tobacco. Process of data collection, respondents and validation There were a total of 1126
respondents. The questionnaires were self administered in presence of a neutral facilitator (a volunteer for all
physical collection of the questionnaire) of the same age group and socio-economical background. The
collection of the questionnaire was done on-the-spot. Survey was also made available through internet. Only
one response per IP address was acceptable and was screened for geographical location based on the IP
address of the respondents. 15

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Incomplete questionnaires or more than one received from the
same IP address were discarded (58 responses discarded). Only the first completely filled form received from
any IP address based in India was accepted. Out of a total of 1126 respondents, 204 valid responses were
collected through Internet and 922 collected physically. The mean age of the respondents was 16.7 years with a
mode of 17, having a range of 16 from 11 to 27. Most of the respondents were from urban or rural schools and
colleges based in Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana & Punjab and admitted regularly viewing television
and motion movies. Age Group: 0-13 13-18 18 + Total Total Number (n) 207 650 269 1126 16


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth DATA ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH FINDINGS The research has been
divided into two parts and both are analyzed separately. Part one deal with the analysis of movies released in
2004 and 2005 and part two analyzes and evaluates the responses received from the answers of the
youngsters. PART I - ANALYZING MOVIES From a total of hundred and ten movies forty-eight of these were
released in the year 2004 and sixty-two in the year 2005. Parameter observed and evaluated Number of As As
movies percentage percentage displaying of total of movies the movies showing evaluated (Total 110) tobacco
parameter (Total 98) Movie showing smoking situations or 98 89.1% 100% tobacco use Main protagonist
consuming any 74 67.3% 75.5% tobacco product in the movie Villain and/or other important 69 62.7% 70.4%
character consuming tobacco in the movie Female characters consuming 28 25.5% 28.6% tobacco in the movie
Style and glamour associated with 79 71.8% 80.6% smoking or tobacco use Concept that tobacco reduces
stress 61 55.5% 62.2% supported in the movie by any oral or visible actions of the actors Dangers of tobacco
consumption 30 27.3% 30.6% trifled and belittled in any scene in the movie Any Positive statement promoting
or 33 30.0% 33.7% facilitating the acceptance of tobacco consumption Display of any specific brand of 45
40.9% 45.9% tobacco or verbal mention of the brand name in the movie 17


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Movies Showing Tobacco Yes Shows Tobacco No Tobacco No
Tobacco 11% Yes Shows Tobacco 89% Lead Star shown consuming tobacco (Among all tobacco incidents)
Protogonist consumes tobacco Other character smokes Other characters smoke 33% Protogonist consumes
tobacco 76% 18


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Tobacco in Movies 120 Total Movies 110 Movies showing tobacco
100 98 The Protogonist consume tobacco 79 80 Villian or other important 74 character consume tobacco 69
Female characters Number of movies consume tobacco 61 60 Association with Style and glamour 45
Association with stress 40 33 30 Dangers of tobacco 28 belittled 20 Positive statement promoting tobacco
Specific brand placement 0 Evaluated parameter 19


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Associating tobacco with glamour Seventy nine of the hundred
and ten movies presented smoking or tobacco with glamour and style. Movies associating glamour with tobacco
accounted for 80.6% of all the tobacco showing movies and 71.8% of movies release in 2004-5. Glamour
incidences were the ones where tobacco was used in situations and by characters projected as glamorous or
smoking was used so as to relate it with a positive style as if smoking was a style statement and something
desirable. Association of tobacco with glamour Tobacco associated with glamour and style Movies without an
association Tobacco associated with glamour and style 81% Prominent among such movies are; Bunty Aur
Bubly, Yuva, Musafir, Aab Tumareh Hawaley Watan Sathion, Bach ke Rehna Re Baba, Choclate, James, Kaal,
Khamoshh, Lucky, Padamshree Laloo Prasad Yadav, Tere Naam, etc. Bunty aur Bubli features Amitabh
Bachchan, (the Indian superstar who also has a temple in his name by his fans) Abhishek Bachchan (his real life
son) and Rani Mukherjee. All the three characters smoke in the movie with full glamour and style. Amitabh
Bachchan is shown smoking bidi (Indian rolled temburni leaf with dried tobacco) with great fondness and at one
instance even claims that bidi makes his brain works faster. 20


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Another movie Pyaar Mein Twist shows a middle aged hero as a
successful businessman who smokes cigar in style with great fondness and so does another important
character who also plays a successful businessman. In Yuva, a movie on young aspirations; the male lead is
shown smoking with passion and as a powerful statement of assertion. The movie Lets Enjoy also projects
the same theme. Aab Tumareh Hawaley Watan Sathion is a movie about dynamic young officers and Akshay
Kumar who plays an Army officer is shown smoking with an unusual style. This style became a hit with a lot of
youngsters. Incidentally Akshay was also the brand ambassador for Red & White a cigarette brand. The first
scene of many movies open with a shot of cigar/cigarette, Chocolate is one such movie. The first scene
focuses on a hand holding a cigar. The first scene after of Kismat after the titles and featuring the male lead,
Bobby Deol begins with a smoking scene in a police station. The first appearance of the hero is with a cigarette.
He smokes with a style and appears to be macho because of smoking. Tum Ho Na featuring Jackie Shroff also
opens with a cigarette scene and so does Khauff, Siskiyan and Jo Boley So Nihal, all opening with the
female characters holding cigarette. When only good people smoke: Many times some film makers argue that
display of smoking is necessary and often used only to make the bad characters and the villains more
significant. This, as we have seen above, is a forceless argument as we can deduct from the above mentioned
figures. In 75.5% of the movies showing tobacco, it is the lead characters who consume tobacco in the movies
and in 21.4% of these, it is exclusively only the leading characters who smoke and no other character is shown
consuming tobacco. Most of the time tobacco has been associated with glamour and style. Examples: In movie
Yahaan, its only the hero and his associates who smoke. They are shown as brave army people. None of the
terrorists or negative characters smokes. Every army officer right from the General to the Captain is shown
smoking at one time or another. In the movie Elaan it is once again only the lead characters who smoke and
drink, the villain or any other member of his gang neither smokes nor drinks. Similarly in Aab Tumareh Hawaley
Watan Sathion, a movie featuring the Indian super star Amitabh Bachachan and the popular hero Akshay
Kumar, its only the young army officer who smokes and shows bravery while smoking cigarettes. Once again
none of the negative character used tobacco. Another popular movie Dus also depicted only the hero
smoking cigarettes. There are 21


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth many other such movies, like, Film Star, Koi Mere Dil Mein Hai,
Lucky, Main Hoon Naa, Murder, Rain, Raincoat, Shabd, etc. where its only the lead characters, projected as good
person who smoke. In these films no negative character (who comes out as a loser in the end) is shown
consuming tobacco. Relating tobacco with stress A sizeable number of movies related tobacco with stressful
situation and thereby projecting tobacco as a panacea to all kinds of stress and tension. The false association of
tobacco as a stress reliever has been created in sixty one of the hundred and ten movies analyzed. For example
in My Wifes Murder, a successful movie, the male lead as well as an important female character is shown
smoking in tense moments. In another movie, Koi Mere Dil Main Hai, a father advises his son that whenever
he feels tense he may smoke. In another movie Shabnam Mausi a politician anxiously waiting for his polling
result is shown smoking under tension. Similarly Elaan, Topless, Bachke Rehna Re Baba, Double Cross Ek
Dhoka, Dansh, Plan, Chocolate, Fareb, Julie, Shabd, Main Aisa Hi Hoon, etc. all promotes
sequences where tobacco or smoking is shown as stress reliever. The association of stress with smoking are too
many and absolutely unnecessary. Associating of tobacco with stress Tobacco associated with stress No direct
association Tobacco associated with stress 62% 22


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Interestingly two movies with the same storyline were produced
in 2005. Dansh and Siskiyaan with the same story did not have the same character smoking in the movie.
While in Dansh, only the male lead Kay Kay Menon smokes but in Siskiyaan, only the female lead Neha
Dhupia smokes. The female lead smokes Marlboro brand of cigarette under stressful situation and otherwise
too. This particular instance shows that storylines are often compromised to accommodate smoking and no
emotion is depicted by showing cigarettes. The association of tobacco with stress is factually and scientifically
incorrect. There are no medical studies to even point that tobacco reduces stress. The association of tobacco
with stress only promotes the tobacco industry marketing theme that smoking/tobacco reduces stress. Its a
scientific fact that tobacco is the major cause of hypertension and increased the chances of an infraction many
folds. Mocking at warning and promoting tobacco Movies do not just stop at promoting a tobacco brand or
smoking. Many go a step further and even have elaborate and many times complex sequences sending a
favourable message promoting tobacco consumption. Quite often the smoking warnings are mentioned in such
a way as to trifle and mock them. Belittling Tobacco Dangers Mocking at warning statement Others Mocking at
warning statement 31% 23


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth At least 30% of the total movies and 33.7% of those with
smoking incidences had a positive dialogue/action facilitating tobacco consumption and 30.6% movies had a
sequence which made fun of the dangers of tobacco or belittled the warning statement. A few 2004-05 movies,
having statements/visuals specifically promoting and facilitating tobacco and /or mocking at the dangers of
tobacco consumption are; Padamshree Laloo Prasad Yadav, Yuva, Siskiyan, Tere Naam, Yahan, Page 3, Parineeta,
Bachke rehna Re Baba, Double Cross, Koi Mere Dil Mein Hai, Lets Enjoy, Masti, Madhoshi, Hum Tum, etc.
Belittling tobacco warnings is not a new trend. A movie recently (October 2005) shown on Doordarshan, Johnny
Mera Naam (A successful movie of 70s) had a scene where the hero (Dev Anand) offers a cigarette to villain
(Prem Nath), the villain refuses saying that, I dont smoke because cigarettes cause cancer. The hero goes
ahead and lights the cigarette despite the villain admonishing him. Its a counter productive warning statement.
The hero is the one who is brave, honest, handsome and smart. Hero is the on who wins in the end with a
cigarette in his hand and its the villain who looses despite not smoking. Its a clear and deliberate situation
belittling the warning. Positive Statement Facilitating Tobacco Consumption Movies with a positive statement
about tobacco Others Movies with a positive statement about tobacco 34% Similarly in Kaal, a movie released
in 2005 one of the important character refuses the cigarette saying It kills, but in the same sequence of
scenes he lights a cigarette, puffs it and again says, It kills. Strangely in the next scene the character who
offered the cigarette is killed for reasons other than smoking. It is an established fact that experimenting is the
first step to full fledged smoking addiction. One of the lead actors experimenting with the cigarette (while some
other smokes) though he does not smoke is a positive and provocative sequence. 24


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth A 2005 release Parineeta had a scene where the female lead
asks the hero not to smoke because it is not good for him but the hero answers that he is mature enough to
understand about what is good and what is bad for him and continues to smoke. In Nazar, a movie released in
2005, a minor character is shown smoking in the hospital and the nurse there admonishes her against smoking
to which she replies that if one has to die, one will die anyway and in the next sequence she is shown
murdered. Hum Tum, a super hit movie of 2004 had a scene where the hero offers the female lead a cigarette
stating that those who have never smoked can not understand the pleasures of smoking. In this movie too this
is a clear instigation to experiment with smoking. There are many such movies instigating experimentation and
at the same time also showing some cigarette brand at the subliminal level. Some of them are Hum Tum, C U at
9, Kaal, Padamshree Laloo Prasad Yadav, etc. In another movie, Padamshree Laloo Prashad Yadav, the hero
(Suniel Shetty) offers a cigarette to a person (two different sequences) and on refusal by the person to smoke
claiming that he had never smoked before, the hero instigates him. In a catchy dialogue sequence the hero
asks him that the way you learned about other things in your life and the way you learned producing children,
the same way you should also learn to smoke. In Lets Enjoy, (released 2004), there are elaborate dialogues
praising cigarettes and claiming it to be Babaji ka prashad (Divine potion). Bachke Rehan Re Baba, shows a
main character consuming Gutka (Chewing tobacco) in many situations and is shown obsessively attached to
tobacco. He praises the taste of Gutka many times in the movie. In Page 3, released in 2005, a police officer
admonishes a journalist about smoking and in the next sequences the journalist lights the cigarette of the
police inspector and both laugh over the previous warning. In another movie (Koi Mere Dil Mein Hai) the father
asks his son to smoke whenever he feels tense. Besides there are many movies where a character is smoking
and consuming alcohol (doing both), he/she is admonished about not drinking but not about tobacco
consumption. Some of such sequences are in Bardaast, Chaahat, Madhoshi, etc. These scenes are only

illustrative in nature and not an exhaustive list. In the movies showing tobacco at least 33.7% movies had a
positive dialogue/action facilitating tobacco consumption and 30.6% movies had a sequence which made fun of
the dangers of tobacco or belittled the warning statement. Promoting smoking among females Fewer females
smoke in India except among certain socioeconomic groups and in some geographical pockets, whereas the
west has a large consumer segment in the form of female smokers. It is a well known fact that tobacco
companies strive 25

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth hard to increase this potential segment and is always positioning
some of its products specifically for women.56 At least 25.5% movies showed females consuming tobacco in
movies released in 2004 and 2005. This constitutes 28.6% of movies showing tobacco. This is significantly
higher than any of the previously reported rate of showing smoking by females in Indian movies. The last WHO
study done in 2003 reported that females shown smoking on television varied between 2.5% to 8% for the
movies shown on television.57 Female Characters Consuming Tobacco Female characters consuming tobacco
Others Female characters consuming tobacco 29% In many movies, the female leads are shown smoking with a
atypical style, prominent among such movies released in 2004-5 are Siskiyaan, Main Aisa Hi Hoon, Chameli,
Aan, Bunty Aur Babli, Khamoshh, Sauda, Topless, Tum Ho Na, Ab Bas, C U at 9, Chaahat, Double Cross, Jo Bole
So Nihal, Julie, etc. Bunty aur Babli female lead Rani Mukherjee smoked cigarette in such a style that many
young girls can be seen emulating her. In a school where we got some of our questionnaire filled up, many girls
happily emulated the way Rani smoked. In another movie, Main Aisa Hi Hoon, the female lead smoked with
style amid 26


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth a clearly visible cigarette brand in at least one scene. Another
movie Siskiyan also had the cigarette brand clearly visible many times and so was there in C U at 9. In Chahaat,
the female lead smokes a popular brand of cigarette on many occasions and during stressful situation and so
does the female lead in My Wifes Murder, Chocolate, Double Cross, Ek Hasina Thi, Julie, etc. In one
movie Topless, the male star asks his wife as why she doesnt light her own cigarette instead of sharing his
cigarette. Many movies opened with the female character smoking cigarette in the first scene itself. Movies like
Siskiyan, Khauff comes in this category. It has been noted that in almost all the instances showing females
smoking, the female character is either the glamorous lead or a rich female belonging to high class society. An
association of beauty, success, emotional and physical toughness, independence and rebelliousness have often
been associated with female smoking. In many instances even the cigarette brand has been deliberately shown
at the subliminal level. This gives enough indication that such product placement is a well though out strategy
in many cases. Tobacco brand/product placement and visibility The 2003 study on the tobacco use in Bollywood
films reports that during the 12 years from 1990 to 2002 only 62 brand exposures were recorded, accounting
for only 15.7% of the movies.58This was before the restriction on direct or indirect form of tobacco
advertisement under the anti-tobacco legislation, enacted in 2003 and which came in force from 2004. The
equation seems to change absolutely now. Among the movies assessed for 2004-05 at least 40.9% of the
movies have either a tobacco product brand appearance or there was a verbal mention of the tobacco brand
name. The figure comes to 45.9% of all movies with tobacco. This is significantly higher than any earlier
reported brand placement instances anywhere. Most of these brand placement efforts are in the form of
cigarette packets shots, though there are at least two instances where there is a verbal reference of the
cigarette brand. In the movie Yahaan, a movie about young and brave army officer, a female character asks
for a cigarette and then specifically asks about the brand of the cigarette in an interesting manner and the
officer replies, Benson, the colloquial name by which Benson & Hedges brand of cigarettes are known. 27


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Similarly in the movie Chameli the hero Rahul Bose specifically
asks for the brand Benson lights after being offered Marlboro. Tobacco product placement Tobacco brand
visible Others Tobacco brand visible 46% Prominent movies which show cigarette packet shots are; Swadesh,
Musafir, Padamshree Laloo Prasad Yadav, Main Aisa Hi Hoon, C U at 9, Siskiyan, Chameli, Ek Hasina Thi,
Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi, Jaago, James, Kaal, Khamoshh, Khakee, Lucky, Maqbool, My Wifes Murder, Rog,
Siskiyaan, Tere Naam, Zehar, etc. In movies like Swadesh, Musafir, Siskiaan, Lucky, Padamshree Laloo Prasad
Yadav, etc. there are some very close up shots of the cigarette packets. They are even longer than a normal
advertising spot and certainly associated in such a way that a person who has never been exposed to tobacco
products also registers them. 28


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Over 90% of all the brand appearances are mainly of two tobacco
companies, Phillips Morris (Marlboro) and ITC (Wills and Gold Flake). Almost all the brand appearances for
Marlboro were in movies which were of big budget and featured popular stars. Marlboro brand was always

placed in the hands of the leading male or female character. ITC brands were not so prominently placed and
were mostly seen in medium budget movies, like Rog, Zehar, etc. Unlike Marlboro shots, ITC products were
handled even by other characters and visible in the hands of minor characters too. Certainly Phillips Morris has
a long history and experience of product placement in Hollywood and other International movies59 this
experience seems to be fully used by the tobacco company. PART II - FINDING A RELATION WITH INFLUENCE ON
YOUNGSTERS ASSESSING AND ANALYZING RESPONSES Importance of tobacco in movies; public response: It is
important to find out that how people perceive tobacco depiction in movies. Whether they thought it to be
important ingredient of expression and also if they though that by not showing tobacco in movies it might even
affect their decision to watch movies. Since most people are not aware about the research on tobacco and are
even not aware about the exact science of tobacco, except for the fact that they have an unclear idea that it is
somewhat injurious to the health. We asked more basic questions which all of the respondents could answer
and could be easily interpreted. Effect of restricting tobacco in movies Restricting tobacco in movies will not
affect either the quality or the decision to watch the movies May affect 4% Restricting tobacco in movies will
not affect either the quality or the decision to watch the movies 96% 29

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth On asking the respondents, if they thought that the quality of
movies would be affected by restraining movies from showing smoking scenes/tobacco. 96.1% respondents
said that banning tobacco in movies will not affect the quality of movies in any way. Only 43 respondents
thought otherwise and 36 of them were either smokers or had a person in his/her family who consumed
tobacco. The second question asked was, if restricting tobacco depiction would affect their decision to watch
movies. Again over 96.6% respondents said that it would not affect their decision to watch movies. Only 38
respondents thought otherwise; out of which 30 were either smokers or had a member in the family consuming
tobacco. It shows that the common man is not concerned about any creativity/artistic freedom/commercial
freedom or the quality of movies being affected by non- depiction of smoking/tobacco in movies. Understanding
the influence on youngsters: We employed two different methods in our survey to arrive at a clear idea about
the influence of tobacco scenes on youngsters. We had a set of indirect questions in the form of general opinion
and another set of direct questions. Both the responses are presented under the head Opinion and Actual
admitted influence. The figures below show the impact of tobacco in movies on he young minds. Opinion: A
total of 62.9% respondents were of definite opinion that showing tobacco in movies can influence some
youngsters to smoke. In response to another question, 57.5% respondents further said that some youngsters
may be actually following the movie stars in smoking as they do in fashion and other things. Actual admitted
influence: Four related questions were asked from the respondents to understand the influence tobacco creates
on them. We asked; if they ever got impressed by the way film star smoked; if they had felt the desire to
smoke; did they ever felt a desire to hold a cigarette in their hand with a style and if they had ever held an
article like pencil/pen like a cigarette in emulation of any film star. Respondents Percentage Question say Yes
say Yes Got impressed by the way an actor 398 35.3% smoked Felt a desire to smoke in their style 289 25.7%
Not smoked but felt a desire to hold a 513 45.6% cigarette Held other article of the kind pencil/pen 668 59.3%
etc. like a cigarette pretended to smoke 30


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth 35.3% of the youngsters admitted being impressed by the way
one or another star smoked on screen and 25.7% admitted having felt a desire to smoke in their style. 45.6%
admitted that even though they have never smoked but still they did felt the desire to at least hold a cigarette
in their hand. A large number of youngsters, 59.3% admitted holding articles like pencil, pen, etc. like a
cigarette and pretending to smoke a cigarette in emulation of a film star. Out of these 481 under 18 youngsters
answering in affirmation, 48.4% admitted of having at least one member of his/her family consuming tobacco
or having tasted tobacco. This puts them into a very high risk group. Such a high number of youngsters
admitting holding an article akin a cigarette points towards their favourable attitude towards tobacco and is
certainly alarming. This pushes the impressionable youngsters to the edge. Since these children and youngsters
openly admit being impressed by the smoking film stars so under such a scenario any added risk factor like
peer pressure, easy access, tobacco companies incentive, etc. is enough to push these highly vulnerable kids
into tobacco addiction. Even if all the indirectly admitted impression created by smoking movie stars is ignored
for discussion sake still the figure of over 25% youngsters admitting having a desire to smoke at least once in
the style of their favourite actor, in itself, is frightening. Considering that India is a young country and
approximately 500 million people are under 18, we can easily estimate that much over 125 million of the
children and youngsters fall into the high risk category and tobacco depiction in movies appears to be one of its
major causes. Recollection of tobacco brands in movies by youngsters: A high 33.7% of youngsters recalled at
least one movie showing a tobacco brand. These respondents could correctly recollect the name of the movie

showing a tobacco product, or the tobacco brand or both. Out of these respondents 67% had a member in their
house who was a present smoker or the respondent had himself experimented with tobacco and 72% of these
youngsters were under 18. Recollection of any tobacco brand visible Total Age-Group Up to 13 13-18 18 + 45
243 91 379 All respondents (1126) 21.7% 37.4% 33.8% 33.7% Youngsters having some 35 148 71 254 degree
of actual tobacco exposure (546) 42.7% 47.7% 46.1% 46.5% 31

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Whether the brand recognition preceded the experimentation
with tobacco or otherwise could not be ascertained. However a large number 33% of these answering
respondents who had no direct exposure to tobacco could also recollect tobacco brand in movies. Tobacco
brand recall through movies Below 13 years of age 13 to 18 years 18 years and above Respondents with
previous 148 35 71 exposure to tobacco (Total 546) Category 243 45 91 All respondents (Total 1126) 0 50 100
150 200 250 300 350 400 Number of respondents Impression on people currently consuming tobacco: A total of
168 respondents reported being regular smokers and 136 admitted having an occasional puff (whom we
consider as smokers). Another 77 said that they were ex-tobacco users i.e. they are presently not consuming
any tobacco product (smoking, chewing, snuffing and others; all included) and 37 said that they consume other
tobacco products. Youngsters with some degree of exposure to Up to 13-18 18 + Total tobacco 13 Parents or a
family members living in the same 62 201 60 323 house consume any tobacco product 30.0% 30.9% 22.3%
28.7% Smokes 21 93 54 168 10.1% 14.3% 20.1% 14.9% Don't smoke but had an occasional puff 16 84 36 136
7.7% 12.9% 13.4% 12.1% Consume other tobacco products (exclusively/in addition to) 3 13 21 37 1.4% 2.0%
7.8% 3.3% Ex-Tobacco user and had quit now 2 42 33 77 1.0% 6.5% 12.3% 6.8% 32


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth A total of 251 out of these people opted to fill the portion of the
survey form which was exclusively for people who had at any point of time consumed tobacco or were current
tobacco users. There were four specific questions asking if they had ever lighted a cigarette in the style of a
film star or held a cigarette in the style of a film star. Their attitude on if they considered smoking to be a style
statement was also sought and if they thought that watching film stars smoke was a reason for their good
opinion about tobacco. 113 of the 251 respondents or 45% admitted lighting a cigarette in the style of a film
star, 158 or around 63% admitted having held a cigarette in the style of a film star at least once. 144 or 57.4%
of the respondents thought smoking to be a style or fashion statement and 76 of these respondents thought
that movies can be one of the reason for their this favourable impression about tobacco. Tobacco users
response Under 13 years 13 to 18 years old Above 18 160 140 55 Number of Respondents (Total 251) 120 59
100 39 80 24 87 60 76 62 40 43 20 12 16 9 9 0 Lighted cigarette in filmi Held cigarette in filmi style Consider
smoking to be May be movies was one of style fashionable the influence Respondents say "Yes" on questions It
is worth noting that while around 63% of the respondents among tobacco users admitted having held a
cigarette in the style of the film stars while only 45.6% from the consolidated respondents had said that they
felt a desire to hold a cigarette in the style of film stars. This significant increase in percentage of admission by
people who had experimented with tobacco about holding a cigarette in the style of film stars is worth taking
note of. This shows that there is a strong influence created by the smoking film stars on youngsters. 33


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth CONCLUSION Depictions of tobacco in Indian movies have
increased significantly after the tobacco control legislation came into force. The product and brand visibility of
tobacco product circumventing the advertising ban has also increased substantially. An erroneous relationship
of tobacco with certain behaviour and emotions is being created in the movies. Such associations are
scientifically incorrect and were earlier also promoted by tobacco companies in their advertisements. It has
been found that the youngsters get considerably influenced by tobacco visibility in moving images. There is
also a high recall of tobacco brands visible in movies. The favourable impression created by movies showing
tobacco is so high on the youngsters that nearly half of all the youngsters desired holding a cigarette in their
hand. For tobacco control efforts to succeed, this high impact on young minds and erroneous association with
certain emotions and behaviour patterns must be broken. A comprehensive ban on showing smoking or any
form of tobacco consumption in electronic images or any other media will prove to be an effective step in this
direction. FURTHER DEDUCTIONS It is quite unfortunate that despite all the indirect and direct advertisement
being banned by special anti-tobacco legislation, it still continues through medium like television and movies
which have a gigantic impact on the young people. Equally unfortunate is the fact that artists and movie
producers have without the proper application of their intelligence, allowed them to be used as a mere puppet
in the hands of cash rich tobacco companies. There are hundreds of scientific studies which prove only one
thing; that; Movies have a considerable influence on the youngsters and moving images are one of the major
factors influencing children and youngsters to start smoking. The depiction of tobacco in movies can not be

said to be accidental or ignorance. In 2003, when for a complete year W.H.O. focussed on the issue of Tobacco
in movies, many producers had (then) expressed their ignorance on the issue. Many producers were sensitized
on the issue and many had publicly said that they will now (from then on) take care. All such statements proved
to be a mere rhetoric. The number of tobacco incidents and brand/product placement have since increased
many folds. This is not ignorance but deliberate. Under the international commitment of the WHO global health
treaty, Article 1(c) of FCTC defines tobacco advertising and promotion as any form of commercial
communication, recommendation or action with the aim, effect or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product
or tobacco use either directly or indirectly. Tobacco sponsorship in FCTC Article 1(g) is defined as any form of
contribution to any event, activity or individual with the aim, effect or likely effect of promoting a tobacco
product or tobacco use either directly or indirectly. 34

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth It is known that even without making a direct reference to
smoking/tobacco a psychological need-satisfaction relationship can be created.55 Whenever smoking and
tobacco images are shown in association with any previous branding philosophy/tactic used by some tobacco
company, even though it is scientifically incorrect it clearly amount to advertising and/or promotion of tobacco.
All the emotional associations created with tobacco are false and erroneous and not based on any scientific
facts. Tobacco, whether shown with product/brand shot or in generic form or not, but if shown in association
with any such erroneous emotional emotional/behavioural situation, it amounts to promotion of tobacco.
Tobacco companies are clearly targeting the underdeveloped countries like India, where the branded
manufactured cigarette use is low (approx.117 per capita compared to 1030 globally) for their untapped
potential. Movies, television and other mass media and multimedia tools appear to be the most effective
vehicle for their objective. Since in India and other such underdeveloped countries the literacy rate is too low so
for most of these people, what is seen is often believed and followed. Movies and television is their window to
the world. What they see, they believe. Mass media and movies are an unfortunate but very powerful tool in the
hands of tobacco companies. It is like a razor in the hand of a monkey. False association of tobacco and smoking
with glamour, bravery, success, stress etc. needs to put to an end immediately if the tobacco control efforts
have to succeed and if millions of lives are to be saved. There is no scientific evidence that tobacco
consumption makes a person brave, appear machismo; on the contrary and according to scientific evidence
tobacco is known to make a person impotent and holding a cigarette in mouth is a psychological indicator of
insecurity. It is shown that people smoking lok beautiful and smart whereas the fact is that tobacco deteriorates
the skin texture and is responsible for hundreds of ailments. Does it improve the social acceptability of a person
as shown in movies; no, not at all rather it reduces the acceptability of a person in certain groups and is
forbidden in many societies; tobacco users are known to suffer from a feeling of guilt too. It on no account
makes a person successful and rather tobacco consumption adds to the poverty. There is no association of
tobacco with glamour too and on the contrary it reduces the quality of life and on an average 22 productive
years from ones life. There is no way tobacco can reduce stress; scientifically it increases the chance of
hypertension and vascular and myocardial infraction by many folds. These false projections are made popular
by motion pictures which must be countered without any further delay. Unfortunately the electronic
communication has been used unchecked in past as a tool to promote harmful products like tobacco and this
has resulted in great loss of life. The promotion of harmful substances like tobacco through mass media is
undeniably against the established research of science against the direction provided by the Indian constitution
and has the regrettable ability to degenerate the young people and hence the future of India and any
civilization of the world. 35


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth Tobacco is not Just another product. Tobacco is a deadly
product which kills. Though tobacco kills a little slower than other drugs but it surely does kills. The public has a
right not to be misled by false speech and expression under the guise of freedom of speech and expression.
The international commitment and agreement reached among 168 countries of the world was achieved after
years of negotiation and evaluation of tons of scientific data. 168 countries have actually signed the FCTC, 113
have ratified it and the international treaty of global dimension specifically provides for a comprehensive ban
on advertising, promotion and sponsorship as quoted above. Tobacco depiction in movies most of the times
amounts to sponsorship and/or advertisement. Pushing tobacco whether in generic form or under a brand
name, remains promotion. The qualities and characteristics presently associated with tobacco in movies are the
same qualities which were earlier associated with tobacco in tobacco advertisements. Movies are proving to be
full length advertisement of tobacco products.Movies are primarily commercial products, produced mostly with
a motive to earn profits, so it would be nave to assume that product images and smoking styles sneak into the
movie unintentionally and without any commercial interest. When all other product placements are paid for, it

is unlikely that the movie producers are so naive as to show tobacco brands for free. If a comprehensive ban on
advertising, promotion and sponsorship, which 168 countries have endorsed, is justified then banning tobacco
in movies is equally correct and even more desirable. It is worth noting that even the freedom of speech is not
an absolute right giving anyone a right to spread harmful and deleterious communications. Freedom of speech
and expression is governed by many other concerns and the welfare of public is at the heart of it. In the past
also legislations have provided for restriction from publishing material and spreading images/speech if obscene
in nature (Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986: Indian legislation) or which is found to be
harmful for young people (Young Person (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956: Indian legislation) or even medicines
and magic remedies (Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954: Indian legislation)
promising miracles. There have been many other reasonable restrictions in public interest in the past too and
by a simple common sense extrapolation of the same, tobacco depiction in mass media should have been
banned years back. 36

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth RECOMMENDATIONS In view of the above findings, we
recommend the following; 1. Legal action against offenders: Action under Section 5 of Cigarette and other
tobacco products Act 2003 must be taken against the tobacco companies, all the film companies, producers,
actors and directors who have shown tobacco products, brands or pack shots amounting to indirect promotion
and advertising in their movies after May 1, 2004, i.e. from the enactment of the anti-tobacco legislation. 2.
Investigate the relationship and financial irregularities: Indirect funding by tobacco companies, like; bearing a
cost of a sequence of scenes; bearing the cost of film sets; sponsorship in the form of bearing the cost of hiring
some equipments, travelling and/or hotel stay cost, etc. must be investigated to ascertain the relationship of
the producers/movie companies and tobacco companies. The grapevine suggests that in many cases such costs
are borne by the overseas or other subsidiary companies of the parent tobacco companies. This appears to be a
clear possibility and is worth investigation in the larger public interest especially for the productions which have
depicted tobacco brands most gallantly. A lot of financial irregularities and tax violations can also be uncovered
and such an investigation would be in national interest. 3. Recall the movies which show tobacco brand: The
movie prints, DVDs, VCDs, etc. showing tobacco brands and product shots should be recalled and the film
producers and companies should be asked to obliterate all such sequences and mention of tobacco with
immediate effect. 4. Remove tobacco from children film completely: All the children animation/cartoon movies
showing any instance of tobacco must be recalled immediately. 5. The CBFC role: The role of film certification
board members who in disregard of the present censorship guidelines, cinematographic representation rules
and the legislative requirements, allowed quite apparent scenes of tobacco brand promotions through movies is
intriguingly strange. Circumstances leading to such a scenario should be assessed and investigated so that
such things do not happen in future. 6. Completely ban all depiction of tobacco: The opinion of the majority
suggests that tobacco depiction is not at all a parameter on the basis of which a movie is watched. Tobacco has
been perceived as a negative influence having no bearing on the decision of the public to watch a movie. It is
perceived that the quality of the movie can in no way be affected by restricting tobacco depiction. In all
respects the general public is not at all concerned about the depicting of tobacco in the movies. Whatever
concerns are, they are only about the negative effects of tobacco depiction. So it is highly recommended that in
the larger public interest the 37


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth government must totally ban all tobacco depiction in all kinds of
motion pictures. 7. Strict regulation: The tobacco companies and movie producers have shown little
commitment to restrict the harmful influence of tobacco on youngsters. The commercial interest seemed to
have weighed heavily on the minds of most of the film makers. There are more than one motion picture
producers association and many independent producers too. These associations are not in a position to enforce
any binding legal restrictions on the film producers to follow any particular parameter (like not showing
tobacco) or other non-legislative guidelines. In the past also, we have seen that the commitment by various
factions of film industry to follow non- tobacco promotion policy have turned out to be mere rhetoric, therefore
the Government must impose strict regulations and legislative measures to restrict depiction of tobacco in
movies without any exemption to the proposed restriction. The only exception can be a regulated permission for
anti-tobacco educational movies without any mention of any tobacco brand name, company name or any
related identical mention, whether directly on indirectly. Caution: Tobacco companies should not be allowed to
produce any such anti-tobacco movies lest they may misuse the provision. 8. Obliterate tobacco scenes and
show anti-tobacco advertisements: Wherever possible all tobacco scenes from the older movies showing
tobacco brand must be removed and where it is not possible for any reason strong anti-tobacco advertisements
must be run. The duration can be 3-5 minutes for every one hour or a part of such movie immaterial of the

number of smoking scenes. For higher number of tobacco scenes increased frequency of anti-tobacco
messages may be screened. 9. Run anti-tobacco advertisements on television: The national broadcaster and
the other satellite channels should be asked to run regular anti-tobacco films and advertisement. 10. Ban
surrogate advertisements: The presence of tobacco companies umbrella brands, and tobacco brand logos on
non-tobacco products (including, but not limited to clothing, pan-masala, perfumes, spices, tea, motor racing
cars, and events) should be considered tobacco brand promotion and subject to the same rules as direct
tobacco promotion. Presently many other products marketed tobacco companies use the same umbrella
brand/trade name as that of the tobacco company and/or the tobacco product, this creates an indirect
psychological relationship with other tobacco products available bearing the same/similar insignia, logo, brand
or trade name. This needs to be stopped immediately. 11. Block foreign movies showing tobacco: The foreign
movies showing tobacco must be regulated and those violating the guidelines must be prohibited entry into
India with immediate effect. 38

Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth AUTHORS & INVESTIGATORS This study was handled by Burning
Brain Society as a part of WHO project SE/05/410744. Among others, the following people worked on the
project: Chief investigator & author: Hemant Goswami, Chairperson: Burning Brain Society, Chandigarh, India
Co-author: Dr. Rajesh Kashyap (M.D. Medicine), Ass. Professor, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, India
Supported by: Dr. Ms. Geetanjali Kashyap (M.A. Psychology, M. Ed.), Ms. Poonam Goswami (M.A. Economics),
Mrs. Joginder Kaur (M.A. His., Eng., NTT), Ms. Ritcha Madan (M.Sc., M.Ed.) Field investigation support: Mr. Piyush
Kamra, Mr. Rakesh Walia, Mr. Gaurav Kainth, Mr. Saurav Abrol, Mr. Ashish Kumar, Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Ms. Priya,
Ms. Madhvee Sharma, Mr. Naresh, Ms. Sangeeta Johal and hundreds others who provided support over the
internet and through the GLOBALink website. Acknowledgement & thanks: We are thankful to Dr. Stanton A.
Glantz, University of California, San Francisco; Dr. Savita Malhotra, Professor of Psychiatry, PGI, Chandigarh; Dr.
Anil Malhotra, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Dr. B. S. Chavan, Professor of Psychiatry, GMCH, Chandigarh, Dr.
J. R. Kashyap, Ass Professor of Medicine, GMCH, Chandigarh and Mr. Jonathan Polansky, Principal, Fairfax, USA for reviewing and providing valuable suggestions. Correspondence Details: Mailing
Address: Hemant Goswami, Chairperson: Burning Brain Society, Glass office #3, Shivalikview, Sector 17,
Chandigarh 160017 INDIA : Post Box: P.O. Box. 137, G.P.O. Sector 17, Chandigarh 160017 INDIA E-Mail: Telephone: +91-172-5165555 39


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth ANNEXURE I [LIST OF MOVIES] 1. 71/2 Phere 30. Film Star 2.
Aab Tumareh Hawaley 31. Garv Watan Sathion 32. Girlfriend 3. Aan - Men at work 33. Hanan - an assault on
faith 4. Aashiq Banaya Aapme 34. Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi 5. Ab Bas 35. Hulchul 6. Ab Tak Chappan 36. Hum Jo
Keh Na Paaye 7. Asambhav - The Impossible 37. Hum Kaun Hai 8. Bachke Rehna Re Baba 38. Hum Tum 9.
Bardaasht 39. Ishq Hai Tumse 10. Bewafan 40. Jaago 11. Black 41. James 12. Bold 42. Jo Bole So Nihal 13. Bullet
43. Julie 14. Bunty aur Babli 44. Kaal 15. C U at 9 45. Karam 16. Chaahat - Ek Nasha 46. Khakee 17. Chameli 47.
Khamoshh - Kauf Ki Raat 18. Chocolate - Deep Dark Secret 48. Kismat - Vicious Trap of Fate 19. Chokher Bali 49.
Koi Mere Dil Main Hai 20. D 50. Kuch to Gadbad Hai 21. Dansh 51. Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaye 22. Dev 52. Kyaa Kool
Hai Hum 23. Dhoom 53. Kyon Ho Gaya Na 24. Dobara 54. Let's Enjoy 25. Double Cross Ek Dhoka 55. Lucky - No
Time for Love 26. Dus 56. Madhoshi 27. Ek Hasina Thi 57. Main Aisa Hi Hoo 28. Elaan 58. Main Hoon Na 29.
Fareb 59. Maine Dil Tujko Diya 40


Tobacco in Movies & Impact on Youth 60. Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya 92. Shabnam Mausi 61. Mangal Pandey
93. Shaddi Ka Laddoo 62. Maqbool 94. Silsilay 63. Mashooka 95. Siskiyaan 64. Masti 96. Socha Na Tha 65.
Matrubhumi 97. Swadesh 66. Mazaa Mazaa 98. Teezab - The Acid of Love 67. Mujhse Shaadi Karogi 99. Tere
Naam 68. Munna Bhai MBBS 100.The Real Dream Girls 69. Murder 101.Topless 70. Musafir 102.Tum.. Ho Na 71.
My Brother Nikhil 103.Vaada 72. My Wife's Murder 104.Veer Zaara 73. Nazar 105.Viruddh 74. No Entry
106.Wajahh - A Reason to Kill 75. Padamshree Laloo Prasad 107.Waqt Yadav 108.Yahan 76. Page 3 109.Yuva 77.
Paheli 110.Zehar 78. Parineeta 79. Plan 80. Police Force 81. Pyar Mein Twist 82. Raghu Romeo 83. Rain - The
Terror Within 84. Raincoat 85. Ramji London Waley 86. Rog 87. Salam Namastay 88. Sarkar 89. Sauda - The deal
90. Sehar 91. Shabd 41


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