Smoking has been banned in all the forthcoming movies of Disney. Bob Iger, CEO, Walt Disney, said that unless there were Disney characters that were historically known for lighting up, smoking would be banned in all other movies.
"Except when we are depicting a historical figure who may have smoked at the time. For instance, we've been doing a movie on Abraham Lincoln, he was a smoker, and we would consider that acceptable. But in terms of any new characters that are created for any of those films, under any of those labels, we will absolutely prohibit smoking in any of those films," said Iger.
The policy to prohibit smoking in movies is extended across the board: Marvel, Lucas, Pixar and Disney films. Marvel Studios and the Star Wars Lucasfilm are the studio's wholly owned comic-book-movie division.
Regina Benjamin, United States Surgeon, conducted a study among kids aged 10 to 14 and found that they are more than twice as likely to try smoking themselves when they have been exposed to a higher rate of smoking in movies. The study concluded that limiting the portrayal of smoking to R-rated movies would significant reduce the number of teen smokers in America.
"Disney has always been good on this issue, but this extension into Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm properties is really tremendous. It's very important because we know that almost 20% of kids who will ultimately become smokers and unfortunately die from tobacco is due to smoking in the movies, " said Robin Koval, CEO, American Legacy Foundation.
Koval runs an organization and a truth campaign since 2000, which teaches teenagers about the harmful effects of smoking. "When our truth campaign first started, 23% of young people smoked. Now 8% do. So this move from Disney really is a big step in getting us to, as we say here, finish it," Koval said.