Anti-smoking spot shows 1,000 people dropping dead

WASHINGTON - American teenagers are being targeted in a hard-hitting anti-smoking cinema campaign launching in the US, which dramatically features 1,000 young people dropping to the ground dead.

The dramatic message comes on the back of reported links between the increase in teenage smoking and exposure to films depicting smoking.

The edgy black-and-white ad is the latest ad from the Truth campaign, which is sponsored by the American Legacy Foundation. The foundation-backed commercial aims to drive home the story of the daily death toll from tobacco-related disease.

The cinema ad, which was filmed in location in Louisville, Kentucky, against the backdrop of a major, but unnamed, tobacco firm's building, will be shown in cinemas across the US, targeting urban areas such as Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans before major feature films including 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines', 'Tomb Raider 2: Cradle of Life' and 'Legally Blonde 2'.

The ad is being backed by a grassroots campaign, visiting 45 cities in 25 states lasting until mid-August. It is part of the ongoing Truth campaign, which launched in February 2000 and aims to let teens make informed choices about smoking. Created by the American Legacy Foundation, which itself was created as a result of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry and 46 states.

Reports from the foundation found that 67% of 216 films reviewed and 14% of the trailers depicted smoking, including those with ratings suitable for children. Although smoking among the nation's youth is at an all-time low, 2,000 US teens take up smoking every day and few succeed in quitting.

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