Saturday, May 12, 2007

Smoking censorship in movies

We know why persistent smokers smoke – they are addicted to nicotine – but why do adolescents start smoking? If you are not a smoker the taste of a cigarette is something unpleasant and seemingly something to avoid rather than repeat. So why do it?

Adolescents smoke for psychosocial reasons and because they seek peer approval. Deglamorising smoking and helping adolescents to achieve the status they seek without smoking is an important task. Advertising is particularly effective in promoting youth smoking and we know that unpaid advertising, through smoking by role models in the media such as the movies, also exerts a powerful influence.

I am pleased therefore that the Motion Picture Association of America is moving to R-rate movies which glamorize smoking. This is not a nanny-state intervention but a move that denies no-one freedom of choice but which prevents false images from influencing youth. It won't change things that much since, surprisingly to me, most movies that feature smoking are R-rated for reasons of sex and violence content anyway.

Humphrey Bogart looked so sophisticated blowing those smoke rings in Casablanca but he died of cancer of the esophagus.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

R seems a little extreme to me. Many movies shows graphic scenes of harder drug use of alchol or illicits and only recieve M ratings.

And besides, if movies influence youth behaviour, I would much rather see a greater emphasis on increasing the viewing ages of movies that glamorise violence.

observa said...

"Advertising is particularly effective in promoting youth smoking and we know that unpaid advertising, through smoking by role models in the media such as the movies, also exerts a powerful influence."

Why then do kids take up smoking dope in such numbers Harry? Certainly no advertising there. I'm just thinking of all the old B&W movies that will need an R rating. Streuth, even Walter Pidgeon in Mrs Miniver offers his prospective young daughter in law a fag.(was it the on the doctors smoke????) Then I think of all the crime/violence junk on TV that an increasing number of the younger and younger generation are child minded by nowadays. No comparison really.

hc said...

I think anonymous it is opurely an age thing. As Ii mentioned most films which do glamourise smoking do have a R-rating for reasons of sex and violence.

Observa, It will reduce smoking according to the evidence. Smoking kills people so it has comparable effects to violence.