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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Wade Williamson, Lori MacVittie

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'Great Gaspy' 2013's Thumbs Down! Hackademy Award Pick

'Gatsby' Exception in Decline of Tobacco Use in PG-13 Movies

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- This year's Hackademy Award loser "The Great Gatsby" was too long for many and way too smoky for reviewers with the Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! Program, but at least it was an exception during a year that otherwise saw tobacco use in youth-oriented movies at its lowest in recent memory.

At least with PG-13 movies, teen reviewers with the Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! Program found that during 2013 just 38 percent featured tobacco use, the lowest level seen since 1996 when the program was started by Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails. However, the percentage of tobacco use movies of all ratings reviewed rose from 51 percent to 55 percent during 2013.

A past study by Dartmouth College found that 44 percent of young adults who try smoking do so because of exposure to tobacco through movies.

While 2013 showed an encouraging reduction in onscreen smoking in PG-13 movies, youth reviewers still found ample instances of actors lighting up on film, awarding Thumbs Down! Awards to Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Lawrence, whose character smoked in front of a child in a scene in "American Hustle," earning her a Thumbs Down! Award.

"The Great Gatsby" earned this year's overall Thumbs Down! Award for smokiest film, with more than 150 incidents of smoking throughout the film. Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! reviewers pay special attention to films that seek to portray smoking as stylish or desirable, and Gatsby's PG-13 rating provided young teen viewers with a black lung full of over-glamorized smoking imagery.

Serving as a breath of fresh oxygen for viewers were Thumbs Up! Winner Tom Hanks for his smokeless roles in "Saving Mr. Banks" and "Captain Phillips," and co-Thumbs Up! actresses Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock for their anti-smoking dialogue in cop-comedy "The Heat."  All three Thumbs Up! Winners included anti-smoking statements onscreen in 2013, a fact not lost on youth reviewers.

"Fast & Furious 6" won the crown for 2013's Thumbs Up! film, celebrating an action film that didn't rely on smoking to portray toughness or excitement.  As a PG-13 blockbuster and the sixth film in the series, it attracted a wide audience while still abstaining from a single incident of smoking during the film.

Research behind the Hackademy Awards was funded by Legacy.

For more information about the Hackademy Awards, visit www.scenesmoking.org.

SOURCE Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails

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