LE PARISIEN and LES ECHOS (France)
A public health advocacy group called the French League Against Cancer is taking advantage of World No Tobacco Day - today - to sound the alarm about "hidden advertising" for cigarettes.
Tobacco advertising was outlawed in France in 1991. And yet cigarette manufacturers are still finding a way to get their products into mass media: French movies. According to the League, a recent survey found that "about 80% of the 180 movies included in the sample have scenes in which cigarettes brands and smokers are represented," Le Parisien reports.
More than 70% of these silver screen smokers are "honorable characters," who could thus encourage young people to start smoking. Tobacco addiction is the leading cause of death in France. On average, French smokers take their first puff at 14.
To fight this plague, the National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES) created an interactive Internet cartoon targeting children under 15. Attraction, as the cartoon is called, tries to "show the dark side of tobacco addiction," Les Echos reports.
The League against Cancer is pushing for new restrictions, arguing that films representing tobacco addiction should be off limits to children under 18.