OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that The Weinstein Company is the first motion picture company to add anti-smoking public service announcements (PSAs) to DVDs in which smoking is depicted.
Beginning with the December release of "Clerks II," the Weinstein Company’s upcoming DVDs will include an anti-smoking ad created by the American Legacy Foundation. The DVDs are distributed by Genius Products, TWC’s exclusive home entertainment distributor.
"We're very thankful to Bob and Harvey Weinstein for agreeing to help us reduce underage smoking," McKenna said. "We have been trying for years to get Hollywood studios to work with us on what we believe is an important and meaningful protection for our children, and the Weinsteins have stepped up to serve as a model for the entire motion picture industry."
The company’s action responds to aSeptember 2006 letterfrom McKenna and 40 other attorneys general to Hollywood’s 13 major motion picture companies, offering free and unlimited use of teen-targeted anti-smoking ads developed for the truth® campaign of the American Legacy Foundation. The ads were created as part of the 1998 settlement of the states' tobacco litigation against the major tobacco companies. As of this date, no other studios have responded to this PSA offer.
"We are very proud to be the first to sign on to this important initiative," said Bob and Harvey Weinstein. "The Attorneys General made a very sensible request, and we think the concept has a lot of merit. Hopefully, our company’s decision to move forward will make other studios reconsider the idea."
Harvey Weinstein added, "As a former smoker, I feel like it’s my responsibility to do everything I can to educate young people about the dangers of smoking. We really hope this initiative will have an impact with viewers across the country."
Cheryl G. Healton, Dr. P.H., President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Legacy Foundation stated, "Our hope is that the Weinsteins’ bold move sets a trend with other decision makers in Hollywood. It is a simple way to prevent thousands of youth from smoking, and can ultimately reduce tobacco addiction and premature death."
Tobacco remains the number one preventable cause of death in the United States and 80 percent of adult smokers begin before age 18. Research has shown that teens are strongly influenced by seeing actors they idolize smoke on screen, regardless of the characters they play.
To counteract this, the Attorneys General have repeatedly asked the Motion Picture Association of America, and the major studios to show youth smoking prevention public service messages in theaters and on DVDs before films that contain smoking. The Attorneys General also asked the National Association of Theatre Owners and its members to run such messages in their theaters.
The Weinstein Company is the first studio to proactively offer to embed a classic truth® campaign ad in its DVD release of one of its most popular films. "We applaud The Weinstein Company for leading the way to deter young movie viewers from smoking," McKenna said.
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Maureen Scharber, Public Information Officer, (360) 753-6224
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