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Maybe the answer is obvious, but still:

I just finished watching Movie Gravity, and at the end of the movie, I saw this disclaimer:

No person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco products

I don't even remember that any tobacco related product was portrayed during the movie, but still there was this disclaimer at the end of the movie.

Why do movie producers put such disclaimers at the end of the movies?

  • Have you seen The Insider? – user37459 Jan 18 '17 at 12:52
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    These sorts of disclaimers aren't limited to tobacco. The credits for Doctor Strange end with a disclaimer saying that texting and driving is dangerous and potentially fatal. I figured that would be obvious enough from what happened to him in the film, but maybe they wanted to make sure nobody thought you would get superpowers if you got in a car accident due to this? – Thunderforge Jan 18 '17 at 16:12
  • @HopelessN00b that was kinda "self-explanatory" to me. But disclaimer about tobacco products at the end of movie where I do not even remember someone was smoking was quite surprising to me – Pavel Janicek Jan 19 '17 at 18:14
  • @Thunderforge: It's more about ensuring that nobody can get away with absurdly claiming that they did just that, in court. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 19 '17 at 18:31
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According to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, 1998, tobacco companies cannot pay for tobacco brand placement in movies.

Additionally, there is a history of litigation for “negligent advertising”:

Negligent advertising - the tobacco companies failed to warn consumers of the risks of smoking cigarettes

By my non-lawyer reasoning, there appears to be certain risks in accidentally portraying a movie as somehow advertising a tobacco product. Because it would be an accident, they have no way of being completely sure that they did not make a mistake. But they can include a disclaimer saying they did not get paid for any tobacco advertising. If they did not get paid, there was no advertising contract because there was no consideration (a legal term indicating that something of value, like money, exchanges hands in order to have a legal contract).

There even has been research associated with trends in showing tobacco products in movies as a result of the Master Settlement Agreement.

There has been a marked decline in the number of movies with TBAs [tobacco brand appearances] released after the MSA [Master Settlement Agreement]. However, the greatest absolute decrease occurred in R-rated movies, and the decrease seen in movies rated for adolescent audiences was not statistically significant.

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    It sounds like the tag at the bottom of your mattress - only existing due to bureaucrats. – Chloe Jan 18 '17 at 15:55
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    It's important to know that Tobacco companies did sponsor movies and did pay for product placement before the MSA. – coteyr Jan 18 '17 at 20:49
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    It is also important to know that tobacco advertising is illegal in some countries (definitely the UK, and if I remember correctly France too). Any movie with tobacco advertising would therefore not be able to be shown in these countries, unless the advertising was edited out. Film studios don't want to limit their revenue by not being able to show their films all over the world! – AndyT Jan 19 '17 at 10:01
  • @AndyT Yes, tobacco advertising is banned in the UK, on television. But this only means that a commercial tv channel can't sell advertising space to a cigarette company during the commercial break. It doesn't mean that the BBC can't show a Humphrey Bogart movie, just because Betty Bacall smokes in it! You aren't allowed to offer cigarettes for sale, so merely showing someone smoking does not count as advertising, because no sale of a product is involved. When characters smoke in old movies you usually don't know which brand of cigarette it is, so it doesn't even amount to product placement. – Ed999 Jan 29 at 8:56
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From Warner Bros' website, it appears to be their policy not to do so. For what it's worth, Universal have a similar policy.

As for why they place the notice at the end of movies? A cynical view might be that this is just a PR stunt - they might just not want to be associated with negative effects of cigarette smoking.

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    I'm not even sure I'd count it as cynical. Seems like a perfectly reasonable thing not to want to be associated with. – Simba Jan 18 '17 at 15:36
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    The movie Superman II in part sponsored by Marlboro, to the extent that Lois Lane was portrayed as a chain smoker and product placement during fight scenes abounds! – PhasedOut Jan 18 '17 at 16:01
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    That's such a strange thought now – JamEngulfer Jan 18 '17 at 18:12
  • Yes, but Superman II was a comedy, so Margot Kidder was able to get a lot of humour for her character, Lois Lane, out of the running gag about the chain smoking. It did a lot to convince me not to take it up! I think that this sort of comedy does a lot more good than banning things. Kids get into smoking just because it's banned. That's really sad. Trying to impose a ban, instead of using reason, is really stupid because it's entirely counterproductive. But politicians are really stupid. – Ed999 Jan 29 at 9:07

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