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Students Work To Ban Cigarettes Use In Films For Children

Moviegoers who saw the computer-animated, PG-rated and widely acclaimed film "Rango" earlier this year also saw more than 50 instances of discount cigarettes use - albeit by secondary characters who producers said never were meant to be emulated.

"Being an animated film, it's aimed at a younger audience," said Alex Martinez, a 19-year-old student at San Joaquin Delta College. And, he said, when young children see online cigarettes used in movies - no matter who is using it - they are more likely to smoke.

Teen volunteers in San Joaquin County have joined a national effort that is urging production companies to ban cigarettes store use in movies with less than an R rating. As part of the discount cigarette online In Entertainment project, organized through the county public health department's cigarettes-control program, students have been tallying instances of buy cigarette online use in popular movies and are developing anti-cigarettes public-service announcements they hope will appear at movie theaters and air over the radio.

"At my school, there are adolescents who do smoke cigarettes cigarettes," said Rudy Buenrostro of Franklin High School. "They're already addicted. Television, movies - that has something to do with it."

cigarettes companies are prohibited from advertising their products to children. But including cigarettes-related images in movies that children watch has a similar effect, said Christiane Highfill, who oversees the county's Students in Prevention program.

Program participants are leading the cheap cigarette online in Entertainment effort. Teams of students go at least monthly to see newly released films and rate them based on whether cigarettes for sale is depicted and in what context.

"What kind of images are being shown in these movies?" Highfill said. "They're giving a false image of success and glamour."

According to the results of a state-ordered survey, about 4 percent of San Joaquin County fifth-graders report that they have tried a cigarette. Nearly all fifth-graders - 93 percent of them - believe smoking cigarettes is "very bad" for a person's health.

Among 11th-graders, nearly 40 percent reported that they had smoked at least one cigarette, with 4 percent saying they smoke cigarettes daily.

"There's clearly a need to educate people about youth smoking cigarettes," said Ina Collins, of the county's cigarettes-control program. "Where better to start than at the local level?"

In a report released in July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that on-screen smoking cigarettes in youth-rated movies had declined for the fifth straight year.

In 2010, cigarettes was seen in nearly 600 youth-rated movies, according to the center. That's a decrease of more than 70 percent from 2005, when the agency recorded more than 2,000 instances of on-screen cigarettes use.

"We want to see more," said Shalvi Prasad, a teen volunteer from McNair High School.

Said Buenrostro: "If we keep cigarettes far away from children, there's a much higher chance they won't pick it up later on."