Tobacco and Public Health in Los Angeles
Tobacco use is one of the nation’s most preventable public health issues, and cities like Los Angeles, CA, have made significant progress over the past several decades with regard to declining smoking rates.
Several states, including California, are putting regulations in place regarding e-cigarettes and are implementing laws that require 100 percent smoke-free workplaces, restaurants and facilities to address the threat of secondhand smoke. Additionally, the state of California passed a law that increases the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.
However, low-income Americans still smoke at an alarmingly high rate when compared to the general population, and tobacco is still the top cause of preventable death in the country. The U.S. Surgeon General believes this continuing tobacco issue is due — in part — to the motion picture industry in Hollywood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that revealed there is a causal relationship between onscreen smoking imagery in top-grossing movies and the number of children and adolescents beginning to smoke tobacco.
Therefore, several public health and health care leaders have urged the Motion Picture Association of America to apply an R rating to any film with tobacco imagery, unless the imagery depicts the serious health consequences of tobacco use.
How Else Can We Prevent Tobacco Use?
This proposition to Los Angeles’ motion picture industry is just one of many ways public health professionals are working to create tobacco-free policies in the U.S.
The online MPH program from GW trains aspiring public health professionals to be well versed in solving prevalent public health issues, such as tobacco use.