Before buying that video game for someone on your holiday list, checking the warning label might be a good idea – and even then, it might not tell you everything you need to know. “Truth Initiative,” a nonprofit anti-tobacco group, says smoking appears in 42% of video games, but only a fraction of those actually warn parents of that. Robin Koval, who heads the group, says they also tend to make lighting up look very glamorous:
“In ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ your character can actually buy a pack of cigarettes and smoke them; or in another game called ‘Assassin’s Creed 2,’ also a very popular game, you can buy and sell tobacco for profit.”
Truth Initiative has a new online report that features interviews with 44 young gamers, who describe tobacco use as making video-game characters “tougher.” Research shows 56% of kids play video games, and they do it on average for about two-and-a-half hours a day… meanwhile, over half of American adults also play video games, and developers say the titles mentioned by Koval are intended for adults, not kids.