Vermont Teens Launch Statewide Effort To Encourage Theaters To Show Anti-Smoking Movie Trailers

State leads national push to get Hollywood to quit smoking

For immediate release:
March 26, 2003

News Media Contacts: Karen Garbarino
Vermont Department of Health
802-951-4004
kgarbar@vdh.state.vt.us
Megan Lawrence
Kelliher Samets Volk
802-862-8261
mlawrence@ksvc.com

South Burlington, VT — Today, more than 100 members of Our Voices Xposed (OVX) and Vermont Kids Against Tobacco (VKAT) will attend the premiere of three anti-smoking movie trailers.

The trailers are part of “Butts of Hollywood” — a statewide campaign to educate Vermont youth about the exaggerated presence of smoking in the movies and to encourage Vermont theater owners to show 30-second anti-tobacco trailers before any movie in which there is smoking.

During the next few weeks, OVX and VKAT members will visit theaters around the state to inform moviegoers about the exaggerated presence of smoking in the movies, hand out “Butts of Hollywood” t-shirts and stickers, and ultimately encourage theater owners to show the trailers. Youth advocates will also go to movie rental stores and “sticker” movies that feature smoking.

“We just want teens to know that every time they watch a movie with smoking in it, the tobacco industry is getting free advertising,” said Ariel Delaney of Hinesburg. “And we want Hollywood to know that we are not buying it.”

Eighty percent of the highest-grossing PG-13 movies and videos released in 1999-2000 featured smoking, despite 1998 legislation that bans tobacco companies from promoting their products to youth.

Moreover, according to a recent study conducted by Dartmouth College researchers, youth who watch movies that feature smoking are more likely to try cigarettes.

Vermont is one of the leading states pushing Hollywood to quit smoking. Major health organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, have publicly endorsed national efforts such as the Smoke-Free Movies Project (www.smokefreemovies.ucsf.edu/) to raise awareness of smoking in the movies.

“Vermont is proud to be a leader in the effort to educate teens about smoking in the movies and arm them with knowledge so they are less likely to start smoking,” said Karen Garbarino, tobacco control chief at the Vermont Department of Health.

Currently, nine of Vermont’s 21 theaters have agreed to show the trailers.

Participating theaters include Bijou Theater in Montpelier, Ellis Theater in Springfield, Ethan Allen Cinema in Burlington, Essex Outlet Cinema in Essex Junction, Kipling Cinema in Brattleboro, Merrill’s Showcase Cinema in South Burlington, Star Theater in St. Johnsbury, Eclipse Theater in Mad River Valley and Village Picture Shows in Manchester.

OVX and VKAT are hoping their efforts will encourage full participation from all Vermont theaters.

Our Voices Xposed (OVX) is Vermont’s youth-led, youth-run movement against big tobacco. It currently has 29 local sites around Vermont and more than 600 high school-aged members. The organization is funded by the American Legacy Foundation. For more information about OVX, contact Christine Bourque at (802) 865-7706/cbourqu@vdh.state.vt.us. (www.ovx.org)