Disney pledges to discourage smoking

July 25, 2007 at 8:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 25 (UPI) -- Walt Disney studio officials committed to discouraging cigarette smoking in its films in a letter to a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee chairman.

Disney said it also would place an anti-smoking public service announcement on DVDs of any future films that include smoking, and would work with theater owners to encourage airing an anti-smoking PSAs before such films are shown, Variety reported Wednesday.

In a letter to Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass. -- House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee chairman -- Disney President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger said the studio shared the lawmaker's concerns about smoking-related deaths, and discourages "depictions of cigarette smoking in Disney, Touchstone and Miramax films."

"In particular, we expect that depictions of cigarette smoking in future Disney branded films will be non-existent," he wrote.

"Disney's decision to take a stand against smoking is groundbreaking, and I commend ... Bob Iger for this important commitment," said Markey, who has pressed studios to eliminate tobacco imagery in movies and participate in the public service campaign.

Dan Jaffe of the Association of National Advertisers said: "Self-regulation is fine if it's really self-regulation. It's only a First Amendment issue when it's forced."

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