Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Smoking on Screen

In May 2007, the MPAA made headlines by announcing: "Now, all smoking will be considered and depictions that glamorize smoking or movies that feature pervasive smoking outside of an historic or other mitigating context may receive a higher rating." Almost a year later, anti-smoking advocates are not satisfied with the results. No film has yet been rated R due to its tobacco content, and the MPAA has been lax in noting instances of smoking in their ratings descriptions. It bears mentioning that an R-rating can seriously hurt the box-office success of film that's meant to have wide appeal. The health department's letter states, "Any film that shows or implies tobacco use should be rated R." Exceptions may be made in the case of "a real historical figure" or if the film "unambiguously reflects the dangers and consequences" of smoking. Under these guidelines, Edward R. Murrow can smoke, but Jack and Rose from "Titanic" cannot, unless Jack dies from emphysema rather than hypothermia.

There are certain types of movies, and characters that just would not be believable if they didn't smoke.

I'm afraid that in real life, people still do...and teenagers will more likely start, the more taboo you make it.

I know it's hard to believe, but most smokers don't smoke because they saw it in a movie.

The article I linked to is pretty good.
You should read it.

I'll stop now, so that Hollywood censors can go back to erasing scenes with people smoking in them, because in the real world Mafiosos and members of South American cartels are health conscious and care about your children, and should be depicted that way in film.