Indies have tripled their share of kid-rated films with smoking

The latest data on the film industry and tobacco finds that so-called independent film companies have more than tripled their share of youth-rated films with smoking: from 12 percent in 2005 to 39 percent in 2015.

As the chart below shows, the major studios, who own and are represented by the MPAA, reduced their kid-rated movies with smoking by 64 percent between 2005 and 2010, after which time the number of smoking films has stayed about constant. 

Meanwhile, the non-MPAA independents actually released more youth-rated films with smoking, doubling the number between 2011 and 2015. The independents released a total of 53 youth-rated films with smoking in those years, compared to 106 from all of the major studios.

In 2015, 60 percent of top-grossing, youth-rated movies released by the independents featured tobacco, more than from the six major studios: Comcast's Universal (27%), Disney (20%), Fox (27%), Sony (36%), Time Warner (40%) or Viacom's Paramount (50%).

Each year, the independents as a group release more top-grossing films than any of the major studios. None of the large independents has published a tobacco depictions policy. Over time, they are becoming a larger part of the public health problem. 

That's another argument for R-rating future films with smoking. Only the R-rating can reach the entire film industry, including the independents — every producer, every film, every studio-distributor.

Learn more about independent film companies and tobacco.