No smoking guns

Letter to the editor

To the editor:

In contrast to the apparent attack on the entertainment industry at a meeting of a Senate Commerce Committee hearing May 11 for failing to help stamp out cigarette smoking in films, it is important to point out that there are many people in Hollywood who have been conducting an effective and even courageous campaign to help deglamorize tobacco use through its accurate depiction in movies and on television for the past several years.

The airing of the 8th annual Prism Awards May 16 on F/X demonstrates the extent and effectiveness of these efforts.

The entertainment industry, through the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC), which presents the awards, has long encouraged creators and production companies to voluntarily address issues of addiction accurately and responsibly in entertainment products.

The fact that there were some 250 submissions for this year’s awards speaks volumes to the success of this effort.

The accounts depicted in nominated productions not only put a real face on tobacco addiction, but also prove that accurate depiction can equal powerful entertainment. Congressional leaders who attended a Capitol Hill screening of the this year’s Prism Awards telecast applauded the entertainment industry for its efforts in regard to drug, alcohol and tobacco addiction.

Research shows that audiences yearn for responsibility from their favorite productions and celebrities when it comes to addiction driven content. The unmerciful consequences of tobacco use shown in movies and TV can affect viewers to the core. There is an important story to be told on the Prism Awards’ influence beyond its role as a television special.

Larry Deutchman,

Senior VP of the EIC