Hackademy Awards Cuts Short 'The Hobbit' With Thumbs Down! For Peddling Smoking to Kids

Feb 22, 2013, 22:00 ET from Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hollywood worked its unwanted, unhealthy and unnecessary magic on behalf of tobacco products once again in 2012 by coughing out one of the smokiest batch of movies in recent memory.

Youth reviewers with Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails' Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down! program picked "The Hobbit" as 2012's Thumbs Down! Movie.

Director Peter Jackson decided pipe smoking in the J.R.R. Tolkien books deserved preservation in his movie adaptation. Not so with Thumbs Up! Award winning movie "The Avengers," a smoke-free action thriller where the cigar-chomping comic book character Nick Fury lost the stogie in the movie version.

In the actor category, Berenice Marlohe earned a Thumbs Down! Award for her character's glamorous portrayal of tobacco use in "Skyfall," along with Leonardo DiCaprio for his role in "Django Unchained."

Whether playing the hero or the heavy, DiCaprio consistently plays up smoking for his younger fans, teen reviewers said.

"He was the most disgusting character ever in 'Django,' but since he is so popular, he's recognizable to multiple generations, and almost every character he plays is smoking somehow," said Emilie, from Sacramento's John F. Kennedy High school.

Thumbs Up! Actor Award winners included Jennifer Lawrence and Colin Farrell for their smokeless appearances in multiple 2012 films. Their performances were a relief in an otherwise dismal year for those watching and waiting for Hollywood to stop promoting tobacco use. A whopping 83 percent of 2012 movies included positive messages about tobacco use as a consequence-free, appealing habit to young audiences — up from 63 percent in 2011.

The Hackademy Awards raise awareness of how tobacco use in movies influences youth. A study by Dartmouth College has found that 44 percent of adolescents who try smoking in the United States do so because of exposure to tobacco use through movies. Scenes with stars smoking intensify this effect, and in 2012, 23 percent of actors smoking on screen were stars, up from 14 percent in 2011.

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

Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails promotes clean air, healthy lungs and a tobacco-free tomorrow. Founded in 1917, the organization that is today Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails is an independent non-profit. For more information, visit www.sacbreathe.org .

SOURCE Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails