Hollywood program targets smokers

Hollywood’s lighting up less these days thanks to a three-year-old smoking cessation program aimed specifically at showbiz employees.

The “Picture Quitting” program has rung up a 52% success rate — well above the typical rates for smoking cessation programs — after the pilot program “Hollywood Quits” saw more than half its 470 participants achieve success.

Better than 1,700 employees have undergone the treatment, which features medications, behavior counseling and flexible scheduling for treatment. Longtime Warner Bros. employee Jill Share said she was able to kick a two-pack-a-day habit despite her initial skepticism.

“I had no interest in quitting, but I had a friend who talked me into going into the program,” she said. “What I found was that a lot of us in the program had very stressful jobs with multiple deadlines. So you wind up rewarding yourself with cigarettes.”

Program’s operated through the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the Motion Picture Industry pension and health plan. A study released Tuesday in the American Journal of Health Behavior made the following findings:

  • More than 50% of the 470 participants in the program reported that they had kept off cigarettes after six months.

  • Use of smoking-cessation medication use was high, with 95% of participants using at least one smoking-cessation medication as part of their treatment plan.

  • The majority of participants used a combination of smoking-cessation medications.

  • Use of multiple medications was associated with higher abstinence rates.

  • Rates of referral and enrollment into the program were encouraging, which suggests that intensive programs with flexible treatment options that are fully integrated into a health center or worksite may reduce barriers associated with pursuing treatment.

The EIF, the American Legacy Foundation, Los Angeles Clinical Trials and the Mayo Clinic developed the program.

Hollywood’s become increasingly concerned over smoking in recent months. The MPAA announced in May that smoking in a film will be a factor in future movie ratings, and Disney announced last month that it will discourage depictions of cigarette smoking in its movies.

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