The American Legacy Foundation Monday released a new content
analysis study that concludes that kids TV shows have a "high amount"
of tobacco use. No, it's not talking about Big Bird walking a mile for a Camel.
Instead, the study looked at the most popular primetime shows with
kids/teenagers 12-17 and found that nearly a million were exposed to tobacco
ads "whether it was in an ashtray, on a billboard, or in a character's
The report found that 40% of TV episodes reviewed had at
least one depiction of tobacco use, 89% of those cigarettes, and that among
shows with a TV-PG rating, half of them showed one or more incidents of
cigarette use, compared to only 26% for shows with the tougher TV-14 rating.
The study postulated from that that "exposure to tobacco depictions may
skew toward youth of younger ages, resulting in earlier exposure to this
Legacy says its researchers based their conclusions on 70
episodes of primetime broadcast TV shows popular with that age group.
The Legacy Foundation has joined with other groups to ask
the FCC to update the ratings system to warn parents about tobacco use.
In a sense, tobacco companies themselves funded the study. The
American Legacy Foundation was created and funded with funds from the 1998
multi-billion dollar settlement agreement between tobacco companies and 46