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Cigarettes star in kids' movies

By MIMI ANDELMAN
Published February 12, 2007


Cigarettes star in kids' movies 

Children's movies have more images of cigarette smoking than R-rated films, according to research conducted by Dartmouth College and released in 2006 by the Legacy Foundation. Researchers studied the 100 highest-grossing movies from 1996 to 2004 and found that, although there was a decline, by 2004 there were still depictions of smoking in 75 percent of G, PG and PG-13 films. The obvious concern is that such imagery could potentially encourage youngsters to smoke. Among the films that hint at or show smoking are these G and PG movies, according to SceneSmoking.org: Curious George, Robots, The Pink Panther, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Family: It's what's for dinner

Two-thirds of American families still eat dinner together, according to a survey in FamilyFun, published by the folks at Disney's Buena Vista Magazines. Two-thirds of about 3,000 households surveyed dine together at least five nights a week, with 38 percent eating together every evening. Also, according to the survey, in a typical week of dinners, 99 percent of families were most likely to talk about their day in extended conversation at the dinner table. More than half of dinnertime meals also ban or ignore phone calls and say a blessing. For more results from the survey, see the March issue of FamilyFun.

A rise in youth suicides

Youth suicides, declining for a decade, are on the rise. A federal report reveals that suicides climbed 18 percent from 2003 to 2004 for Americans younger than 20, from 1,737 to 1,985 deaths. It was noted, in contrast, that suicides among 15- to 19-year-olds had fallen in previous years, from about 11 per 100,000 in 1990 to 7.3 per 100,000 in 2003. The data released last week is from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some mental health experts think a drop in the use of antidepressant drugs may be to blame. "This is very disturbing news," said Dr. David Fassler, a University of Vermont psychiatry professor. Psychologist David Shern, president of Mental Health America, called the new data "a disturbing reversal of progress."

Tuning in to BabyTV

BabyUniverse has launched www.BabyTV.com, a television-style Web site focused on the needs of new and expectant parents. The site features an interactive format in which the user can tune in to broadcast-quality live and prerecorded streaming television on baby care and parenting topics, interact through live events, shop and participate in community features. (There's even Baby U-Tube.) For programming, the site partners with women's media company Oxygen, as well as video-on-demand pioneer Alpha Mom.

Easy-Bake Oven recall

About 985,000 Easy-Bake Ovens sold since last May have been recalled because the oven's opening poses an entrapment or burn hazard. The Hasbro company has received 29 reports of children getting their fingers or hands caught in the opening, including five reports of burns. The recalled plastic ovens are purple and pink. Model No. 65805 is stamped into the plastic on the back. The recall does not include Easy-Bake Ovens sold before May 2006. The company points out that the oven is not safe for children under 8. For a free retrofit kit, call the company toll-free at 1-800-601-8418. On the Web: www.easybake.com or www.cpsc.gov.

Compiled by Times staff writer Mimi Andelman with information from Newsday, the Washington Post, the Associated Press and staff reports.