Debate heats up over smoking in film

American Legacy schedules event in Washington

WASHINGTON -- The push to end smoking in the movies lights up Congress this week as the anti-tobacco American Legacy campaign plans to highlight their campaign in an event scheduled in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.

American Legacy claims that one-third of all teens who start smoking each year are recruited primarily by the smoking they see in movies. The group has led a high-profile pressure campaign for years and is hoping to make lawmakers pay attention with the event in one of the nation's most symbolic buildings.

The group contends that the nearly 14 billion smoking images they claim young people see in the movies contributes to the nation's 40,000-person tobacco-related death toll.

The issue has drawn the interest of notable lawmakers including Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the House telecommunications subcommittee. While Markey aides said he did not plan to introduce legislation attacking the issue, he was interested in hearing what the panel had to say.

Included in the event are Jonathan Klein, director of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Julius B. Richmond Center and American Legacy SVP Stephenie Foster.