Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Cigarettes and Hollywood: should filmmakers cut smoking from certain movies?

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When you see Hollywood's latest "it" actor lighting up on screen, do you think anything of it? As adults, it may not even register, but Harvard's School of Public Health is worried that when cool characters light up on screen, teens think it's cool to light up too. The group is out to stamp out the practice for good.

Smoking is no stranger to modern movies; 66% of the top grossing films from 2004 to 2005 showed characters smoking, 68% of PG-13 films during that time period depicted smoking, while R-rated features had an average of 20.4 light-ups per hour. The MPAA recently met with industry leaders, the Harvard group, and academics from John Hopkins to discuss adding smoking to the rating system. Harvard School of Public Health dean Barry Bloom pointed out that "No one has died from hearing the f-word" but that smoking is a major health issue in America today.

So I'm curious to hear what your opinions. Obviously, we don't want our children and teens to start smoking, and marketing cigarettes to these young age groups through movies is a harmful practice, there's no doubt. But should cigarette use in movies be added to the ratings system already in place? Should a PG rating be an assurance to parents that not only will there be no drug use, but no cigarette use as well? What do you think?

(via Cinematical)

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