August 7, 2019
ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL URGES VIDEO STREAMING INDUSTRY TO PROTECT YOUNG VIEWERS FROM TOBACCO
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with a bipartisan coalition of 42 attorneys general, today urged the streaming industry to limit tobacco use in their video content and take proactive steps to protect the lives of young viewers.
“I encourage the industry to do the responsible thing and limit tobacco use in their video content,” Raoul said. “I am committed to protecting young people from the harmful effects of tobacco use, and limiting their exposure to the glamorization of tobacco use in movies and television is one step we can take.”
In the letter, Raoul and the coalition urge the video streaming industry to adopt the following policies to protect young viewers from the ill effects of tobacco content:
In 1998, attorneys general across the country entered into the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which imposed major restrictions on tobacco company marketing practices and prohibited advertising aimed at youth. This included banning the advertisement of tobacco products on TV shows, movies and other video content. Despite the ban, studies by the public health organization Truth Initiative found a high rate of tobacco content in streamed videos that are popular with young viewers. Further, a 2018 study found the streamed videos that are most popular with young viewers feature higher rates of tobacco content than programs shown on traditional television.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018. In 2012, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that watching movies with tobacco imagery increases the likelihood that adolescents will become smokers.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office has long prioritized the fight to decrease the use of tobacco and nicotine products by young people. In June 2018, the Attorney General’s office asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban flavored tobacco products. In May of this year, Attorney General Raoul urged the FDA to strengthen e-cigarette guidance by prioritizing enforcement actions against flavored e-cigarettes.
Joining Raoul in sending the letter were the attorneys general of California, Nebraska, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.