According to a sweeping report on tobacco in the media released, depictions of smoking in movies and tobacco promotions make teenagers to start smoking.
The National Cancer Institute reported the tobacco industry spent more than $13 billion on smoking-related promotion and advertising in 2005.
Dr. Ronald Davis, senior scientific editor of the report and past president of the American Medical Association said: "This is the first government report to present definitive conclusions that, number one, tobacco advertising and promotion are causally related to increased tobacco use in the population. And, number two, (it shows) that depictions of smoking in movies is causally related to youth smoking initiation."
Tobacco use still remains the single-largest reason of preventable death in the United States, accounting for more than 400,000 premature deaths each year.
Smoking reduced from 42 percent of U.S. adults in 1965 to 21 percent in 2006. But more than 4,000 young people smoke their first cigarettes shop each day, and another 1,000 become regular smokers. Nearly 90 percent of adult began smoking while in their teens.
Even brief exposure to advertising influences adolescents. Three-quarters or more of movies depict cigarette smoking.
Sony Pictures, News Corp's Twentieth Century Fox, General Electric Co's Universal Pictures, Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Co and Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros said they would place anti-smoking public service announcements on DVDs of all movies with youth ratings that depict smoking.
But the report informed mass media campaigns aimed at reducing smoking do work.
Health experts at the news conference called for much more money for such media efforts.
They said 1969 legislation banning smoking advertising in broadcast media and other curbs have led tobacco companies to change marketing tactics.
Davis said: "Any promotional technique that lowers the price the kids see when they go to buy a pack of cigarettes is extremely important. Partial advertising bans don't work."
Dr. Janet Collins, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said: "The report speaks clearly to what amounts to an assault on the nation's health."
The report comes just ahead of a Senate vote to give the Food and Drug Administration oversight of tobacco regulation. The measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives.