Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and other celebrities are being portrayed as negative role models in a new anti-smoking campaign aimed at discouraging teens from taking up the habit, which is known to cause cancer and other debilitating diseases.
The campaign also singles out Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Orlando Bloom, supermodel Kate Moss, singer Chris Brown and a slew of other celebrities.
It calls them “unpaid tobacco spokespersons.”
“Every time one of these photos gets posted, big tobacco companies get tons of free publicity,” it says.
The campaign is sponsored by a group called “Truth,” which is being funded with a grant from a multi-billion dollar settlement of a tobacco lawsuit.
The American Legacy Foundation, an independent public health nonprofit organization which provided the grant, was created in 1999 as a result of the lawsuit.
The case was brought by 46 states, the District of Columbia and 5 U.S. territories to recover some of the billions of dollars spent caring for sick smokers, according to the group’s Web site.
The latest campaign, called “Finish IT” was launched to convince young teens not to smoke. Teen smoking has been declining sharply in recent years. Only 9 percent of teens currently smoke, down from 23 percent in 2000, according to a University of Michigan survey of 50,000 8th, 10th and 12th graders.
Hollywood has always been a thorn in the side of anti-smoking efforts, not only because celebrities like Pattinson and Stewart personally smoke, but also because of the continued use of tobacco products in movies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta released a study that looked at tobacco use in popular films from 1991 to 2009.
In 2009, about half of the 145 movies in the study didn’t show any smoking. For films aimed at children or teens, the percentage was even higher, 61 percent. However, slightly more than half of the movies rated PG-13 did show tobacco use.
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