Call for ban on smoking in video games

Posted at 10:34 AM, Dec 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-16 19:00:32-05

As we head into the last big shopping weekend before Christmas, many parents will be looking at video games for gifts.  However, the public health community is warning parents that they may have no idea that games bought for children have graphic depictions of tobacco use.

Research conducted by the Truth Initiative found that a large percentage of games frequently played by kids show tobacco use - especially with main characters.  The group also found that many video games do not not properly list tobacco use on labels even when they are rated "Teen" acceptable.

The Truth Initiative is now calling for video game manufacturers to ban all smoking use in video games.

Video provided by the Truth Initiative shows examples in some of the hot games now for sale.

You can read the report here:http://truthinitiative.org/sites/default/files/Played-Smoking-in-Video-Games-2016.pdf

Children surveyed for the study said they felt having a main character use tobacco made him/her look stronger and aggressive.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute is also very concerned about issue because research has already found a link between young people watching smoking in movies and becoming smoker themselves.

Another issue that is causing concern is the photo-realistic imagery that is now in violent video games.  The Western New York Peace Center is warning parents that the killing scenes are "desensitizing children" because the technology makes the gore look so real.

The Western New York Peace Center believes video games ratings are failing and parents are not paying enough attention to what their children are playing.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his reports.