Ban on Smoking Scenes

Published on September 9th, 2010 10:40

Smoking scenes on the TV screens were on rise in 2005 and have been on the decline since, according to a research team that analyzed the most popular films from 1991 to 2009.


For example last year more than half of the 145 top movies didn’t have any smoking scenes at all. That is a record for the past two decades. As about films for children and teenagers, the percentage was even higher - 61%. Though, 54% of the movies related to PG-13 did show tobacco use. “Hollywood is capable of making movies where there are no smoking scenes and people still come to see them, without being disappointed that they haven’t seen any smoking scene,” stated the research leader, Stan Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.

Glantz and his colleagues have been forcing movie studios for years to cut out smoking scenes from those movies that are marketed to children and teenagers. Those efforts were not in vain, as at present movie studios adopt particular policies on smoking and put anti-smoking messages on DVDs that depict smoking.

“The amount of smoking scenes in PG-13-rated movies is of particular concern among researches, as teenagers view these movies most,” Glantz declared. The more smoking scenes they see the highest chances that they will pick up the habit themselves, according to the research authors. “At present we are facing a declining trend, and this is good news, but we haven’t made nearly enough progress,” Ursula Bauer of the CDC.

After years of decrease, the smoking rate for high school students has stalled at 1 in 5 that according to Bauer might be due to the promotion of smoking in movies.

Specially, for their study, the researchers traced tobacco use in the most popular films for almost two decades. They analyzed the top 50 films for the years 1991-2001, and films from the weekly top 10 from 2002-2009. After the researches counted the number of times tobacco use was shown in all those films. From 4000 smoking scenes in 2002, the number fell steadily to 1,935 last year.

Since 2007, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPA) considered smoking as a factor in its rating system, observing when cigarette use has affected the rating. For instance, the PG-13 rating for “Avatar” included “some smoking.”

“This assures specific information that is very important for parents as they make decisions for their kids,” the MPA representative stated. Glantz and other critics have stood for an automatic R rating for films that depict smoking, serving as an economic drive to cut out smoking scenes from their movies and thus get a less restrictive rating.

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved.

Related tags: smoking ban | movies | smoking scenes

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